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A Sicilian Romance

3.31  ·  Rating Details ·  1,610 Ratings  ·  139 Reviews
In A Sicilian Romance (1790) Ann Radcliffe began to forge the unique mixture of the psychology of terror and poetic description that would make her the great exemplar of the Gothic novel, and the idol of the Romantics. This early novel explores the cavernous landscapes and labyrinthine passages of Sicily's castles and convents to reveal the shameful secrets of its all-powe ...more
Paperback, Oxford World's Classics, 256 pages
Published March 11th 1999 by Oxford University Press (first published 1790)
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K.D. Absolutely
Oct 20, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: 501, gothic, romance
Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823) was considered the pioneer of gothic literature. The Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole came first but Radcliffe legitimized the genre by her brilliant use of the supernatural elements and thorough handling of the inexplicable phenomena that, critics said, made readers accept and love gothic works. This work, A Sicilian Romance was parodied by Jane Austen in her Northanger Abby. Radcliffe influenced not only Austen’s works but also those of Charlotte Bronte’s Ja ...more
Jane
Nov 12, 2009 Jane rated it really liked it
The Classics Club Spin spun me A Sicilian Romance,and I’m very pleased that it did.

I’ve always hoped that I would fall in love with Ann Radcliffe’s novels, with the coming together of the gothic and the romantic, but I was scared to take the first step and so I needed that spin.

It was love, of course it was.

The opening chapter was wonderfully readable and it set the stage for what was to come. A traveller was struck by a sight on the north coast of Sicily: a ruined castle that had clearly once b
...more
CheshRCat
Only part way through this one. Oh, how I love gothic romance.

P.S. Wondering what exactly the most common cover picture has to do with the plot. I looked it up and it turns out it's a picture of Julia after she was banished to the island (you know, after Augustus found out she was sleeping around with just about every other man in Rome, and went all, "Family values, my dear!" on her, even though he was part of one of the most dysfunctional, sex-crazy families in history. The moment was immortal
...more
Liz
Julia and Emilia Mazzini are happy with their lot in life. Having lost their mother at an early age, they dwell alone in the castle Mazzini, with their governess and companion Madame de Menon to look after them. Their father, a marquis, prefers to dwell elsewhere with their brother, Ferdinand, and his new wife, the beautiful but cunning Maria de Vellorno. Julia and Emilia have never known another way of life, and so this isolation from society does not chafe them, though Julia (the more spirited ...more
Valerie
Mar 12, 2011 Valerie rated it liked it
There is a massive difference between reading something for fun and reading something for class. This is the second book I have read for my Gothic Literature course and I am having trouble finding the words to describe this book without it sounding like an essay.
I really enjoyed reading this book purely for the fact that it kept me entertained. Gothic Literature back in its day was seen as a popular yet low-cultured novel and after reading this book I kind of know why that was. A Sicilian Romanc
...more
Roberta
Oh, how I enjoy a good gothic story in autumn and winter!
Although I like the genre I haven't read much of Ann Radcliffe. I used to read these kind of novels when I was a teenager, but at the time my English wasn't fluent enough and I had to rely on translations. The local bookstore or library didn't have a proper gothic section.
So here I am, 25 years after, trying to close the gap between Ms Radcliffe and me. She's an excellent storyteller. She managed to put a lot into this short novel: love, h
...more
Jessica
Oct 19, 2015 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Not much to say. Except in the Librivox recording I listened to, a cat could be heard in the background of some of the chapters. :)
Sara
May 17, 2010 Sara rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks, romance
I picked up A Sicilian Romance on a whim. I'd read and enjoyed Udolpho, and I wanted to experience more of Radcliffe's work. This was a new offering from Librivox, it was relatively short (well, compared to Udolpho ), and though I didn't know much about it I figured it was worth a try.

The first quarter of the novel didn't do much for me. "Oh," I kept thinking. "It's a partially run-down castle, and a young lady who is in love with one man but being forced to marry another." And so on and so for
...more
Grace Harwood
Sep 29, 2013 Grace Harwood rated it it was amazing
I so enjoyed reading this work which just typified Gothic excess at its very best. What we have here is the story of Julia and Emelia and their brother Ferdinand, children of the autocratic Marquis Mazzini who is every bit as diabolic a villain as Radcliffe's more famous Count Montoni. The children are motherless and live in a castle (in the same sublime species of landscape as Udolpho) which has an entire ruined southern hall which is reputed to be haunted. Of course, this is Radcliffe, so we k ...more
Mela
Ufff, I have done it. I have finished it. I wasn't sure of this to the end. I am sure that I will not read more of Ann Radcliffe.

I can imagine that she was famous and loved in her times. Her novels were something new then. And I can simply believe that she was extremely popular.

Nonetheless, two centuries later, a narration, the way she wrote a story is too much boring for me. I had to skip many descriptions, otherwise I would not finished this book at all.

The plot, the adventure, the mystery
...more
εlﻨբ ツ
Olayların seyri başımı döndürdü:) Ağır biraz ama eski bir kitap sonuçta.Julie babasının onu zorla evlendirmesine göz yummak istemez ve kaçar ama ne kaçma.. sonunda olaylar birleşiyor ve gizli kalmış sırlar ortaya çıkıyor.Sevdim ben..
Monica Martin
The only interesting part was when the father and the priest verbally batted it out, auguring who had the most power over Julia via morality. So who had the most power? The father or The Father? Of course while they argued, she escaped, so the real answer is neither of them.
Berfin Basak
Sep 02, 2015 Berfin Basak rated it liked it
Saatlerdir labirentten çıkmaya çalışıyormuş gibi bir his, ve nihayet kurtulduk & mutlu son!
Simon
I sometimes get the impression that people before the Industrial Revolution had a completely different type of cultural consciousness than we moderns do. One of the reasons is reading more and more social science revolving around technology's impact on society, but another that I've expanding my literary horizons further and further back in history which requires adjusting to very different storytelling paradigms than I'm familiar with from most of the fiction I read.

A good example is this late
...more
Gio
Mar 12, 2012 Gio rated it liked it
The story is told by a traveller to Sicily who reads a manuscript about a castle and his inhabitants, the Mazzini family. The story is set in he late 1500s. After his first wife dies, the cruel marquis of Mazzini, remarries to a beautiful but selfish and vain woman and the couple moves to Naples. He brings his son Ferdinand with him but his daughters Julia and Emilia are left at the castle in the care of one of their late mother's relatives. The two girls grow up into beautiful, charming and gen ...more
Sotiris Karaiskos
Jul 08, 2016 Sotiris Karaiskos rated it really liked it
Shelves: gothic, classic
Το δεύτερο βιβλίο της Ann Radcliffe και μπορώ να πω και η πρώτη της ολοκληρωμένη συγγραφική προσπάθεια. Σε αυτό εδώ όλα τα μαγικά συστατικά που χρησιμοποιούσε τότε για να μαγέψει το αναγνωστικό της κοινό βρίσκονται σε πλήρη ανάπτυξη. Οι πανέμορφες περιγραφές των τοπίων, η αντίστοιχη διείσδυση στους χαρακτήρες που συναντάμε, ο ποιητικός συναισθηματισμός, η πλοκή γεμάτη ανατροπές (αν και κάποιες υπερβολές δεν αποφεύγονται), η έντονη κριτική ηθών και καταστάσεων.
Με αυτά τα εργαλεία διαθέσιμα, λο
...more
Lois
Sep 08, 2015 Lois rated it really liked it
Like any dedicated Austen fan, I have always been intrigued by the books her characters—and especially her heroines—read, and Radcliffe's novels stand out among them. As a result, many years ago I bought a few of them, determined to round out my knowledge of Austen's world, but am only just now getting around to actually reading them (what can I say, I've been distracted). It has been an interesting experience. The plot is fun, albeit in a didactic, moralising, 'I have to justify this whole nove ...more
Teaqueen
Jun 17, 2014 Teaqueen rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! After reading and super enjoying Ann Radcliffe's The Romance of the Forest, I had low expectations for Sicilian as it was an earlier book. Wow! Was I pleasantly surprised! Much tighter and less convoluted then romance of the forest, this story really moves! Plot was easier to follow... Even with all the twists and turns. Excellent characters… Wonderful villains, wonderful heroes, wonderful women in distress. I also love how the story changed from scene to scene in different part ...more
Jesse
Dec 11, 2011 Jesse rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
This was intriguing and a decent read for the gothic genre, and while I believe that this is supossed to be one of the earliest examples of this style of book, it is not the first one that I've read...so I think that I'm comparing it to books that had a chance to perfect the genre.

Anywho, this was still entertaining. Classic themes of love, betrayal, evil and innocence. I enjoyed the creepiness of the supossed super natural and hauntings. However, the plot seemed to drag at times and ending was
...more
Kristy
Jun 18, 2011 Kristy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Bandits! Fainting maidens in distress! Duels to the death! Hidden castle passages! “A Sicilian Romance” is the epitome of a classic gothic novel in every way. I love this stuff. However, “Romance” was a little too clichéd to be completely enjoyable. The men were either totally evil or totally heroic and the females were just… well, fragile and tending to hysterics. Except for the evil step-mother, of course... but that's a cliche too, isn't it. And all the convenient coincidences were a bit much ...more
Yeliz Ulucay
Mar 04, 2016 Yeliz Ulucay rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okurken bir an gereksiz karmaşık ve anlamsız uzun cümlelerden dolayı boğulacağım zannettim ama bitirmeyi başardığım için mutluyum, gururluyum. :) Gotik roman tarzı benlik değilmiş bu okuma deneyiminden onu anladım. Sürekli şatolarda ve manastırlarda geçen gereksiz koşuşturma yüzünden bana ilginç gelen şato ve manastır kavramlarının bile bu gotik roman tarzı yüzünden itici gelmeye başladığını söyleyebilirim.
Lavinia
Aug 10, 2011 Lavinia rated it liked it
Shelves: gothic
I was both hoping and expecting something better, but considering the fact that Ann Radcliffe was a pioneer of the genre ... hat's off! The novel has everything a Gothic novel should have: haunted, old castles, dungeons, dreary passages, gloomy atmosphere, a heroine in danger, forbidden loves, women threatened by evil males, and so forth.
All in all ... a pleasant read.
Elisa
Apr 11, 2011 Elisa rated it did not like it
Oh lord... Had to read it for a study group. Florid. Horrid. No wit, just melodrama. No character development and no study of motivation. I do understand this was fashionable when written, but why it fell out of favour ....
Catalina
Nov 01, 2014 Catalina rated it liked it
Quite a few twists and and an alert pace. And even if the seed of the story is predictable, with all the turns and twists you kind of lose faith in it.
Laura
Feb 24, 2015 Laura marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: Hannah
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.
A.M.
Aug 02, 2014 A.M. rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own, e-books
Ah, Gothic romances… and that style of POV where it is one person who tells the story a monk told him about the story he read in the volume where someone else told the story that someone told her… is there a phrase for that? Fifth person distant POV? Third person thrice removed?
******
Here be spoilers. I have written the review as I read it.
Julia and Emilia Mazzini live in a castle in Sicily so large that the southern wing has been locked up and abandoned. Their companion, madame de Menon, was an
...more
Ilaria
Mar 22, 2017 Ilaria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"L'astro benefico che ruota intorno alla terra, non contento di dare vita alla natura, di apportarle il necessario calore e la luce, restituisce anche alle nostre anime l'energia alterata dalle fantasie notturne,restituisce loro il coraggio e le rasserena."

Romanzo siciliano è il primo romanzo che leggo della Radcliffe, autrice simbolo del romanzo gotico inglese. La storia è ambientata, come si evince anche dal titolo, nella Sicilia del XVI e precisamente al Castello del Marchese di Mazzini. Qui
...more
Geoff Wooldridge
Mar 26, 2017 Geoff Wooldridge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a classic gothic romance of its time (1790), very popular amongst the masses and other authors of the time. Radcliffe had many admirers, including Jane Austen, who references her work in Northanger Abbey.

It is a melodrama, clunky by modern standards, combining haunted castles, evil nobility, unrequited love, chivalrous deeds, sinister plots and several deaths, with clear heroes and antiheroes and, of course, all must end well.

Radcliffe takes us to Sicily, in the house of Mazzini, where t
...more
Sam_I_am(BookaddicT)
May 14, 2017 Sam_I_am(BookaddicT) rated it really liked it
"When once we enter on the labyrinth of vice, we can seldom return, but are led on, through correspondent mazes, to destruction."

The closest I’ve come to Gothic fiction was any book with vampires.So, when I decided to incorporate some classics into my reading I’m glad I discovered this genre.But it’s not just the dark and eerie atmosphere that these stories can paint.I’m so fascinated with the vernacular and vintage style of writing.Many modern writers have tried to mimic this flair, just for it
...more
Haku
May 18, 2017 Haku rated it liked it
Shelves: 3, 2017
"We learn, also, that those who do only THAT WHICH IS RIGHT, endure nothing in misfortune but a trial of their virtue, and from trials well endured derive the surest claim to the protection of heaven."
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Ann Radcliffe was an English author, a pioneer of the gothic novel.

Radcliffe was born Ann Ward in Holborn. At the age of 22, she married journalist William Radcliffe, owner and editor of the English Chronicle, in Bath in 1788. The couple was childless and, to amuse herself, she began to write fiction, which her husband encouraged.

She published The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne in 1789. It set the
...more
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“How short a period often reverses the character of our sentiments, rendering that which yesterday we despised, today desirable.” 2 likes
“Wisdom or accident, at length, recall us from our error, and offers to us some object capable of producing a pleasing, yet lasting effect, which effect, therefore, we call happiness. Happiness has this essential difference from what is commonly called pleasure, that virtue forms its basis, and virtue being the offspring of reason, may be expected to produce uniformity of effect.” 1 likes
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