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A Sicilian Romance

3.26 of 5 stars 3.26  ·  rating details  ·  920 ratings  ·  83 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, 256 pages
Published March 11th 1999 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1790)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,986)
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K.D. Absolutely
Mar 11, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: 501, romance, gothic
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
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
Jane
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
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
Valerie
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
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
Pınar
Tamam dönemine uygun, tamam dili ağır falan ama gitmedi. İlk yarısı aktı biraz ama 2. kısım bitmeyen kitaba döndü. Bu yaştan, bu kadar kitaptan sonra ah dese bayılan kızları kaldırmıyor bünye. Tabiatıma ters. Bu kadar, her şeye bayılan insanları da yeni gördüm. Adamlar düşmanla mı uğraşsın bayılan kızlarla mı? Konu da sürekli tekrar bağladı. Kaç-öldü zannet, kaç-öldü zannet. Kaçıp kovala bitmeyecek sandım bir ara. Allah'tan geberdiler sonunda da (spoiler değil bu hemen küfretme kardeşim) yeşilça ...more
Teaqueen
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
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..
Sara
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 fort
...more
Gio
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
Grace Harwood
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
Jesse
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
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
Catalina
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.
Lavinia
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.
Theresa
3 stars? 4 stars? This was a free audiobook, an enjoyable listen. Not positive I would have had the patience to finish entirely by book, the plot was so—meanderingly suspenseful. But excellent background listening if you're doing something boring. And believe it or not I enjoy this kind of formal language. It's almost funny when our heroine needs to quickly communicate urgent information and she winds to the point by apologizing for surprising her listener with unexpected news—then delicately in ...more
Elisa
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 ....
Justin Robinson
If you're interested in knowing where horror, adventure, romance, and a ton of other genres come from, get you some Radcliffe right now.

Written in the 1790s by a badassed bored housewife, Radcliffe's novels have rumors of ghosts, abandoned castles, swordfights, chase scenes, and beautiful women who just can't even. (Back then, they called it swooning.)

The novels show their age -- for example, no one in the current century would ever attempt to jam so many narrow escapes and mistaken identities
...more
Jaz
I'm glad that my rating matches up with the average rating for this novel- I was a little disappointed.

I've read Vathek, The Castle of Ontranto, Melmoth the Wanderer; I enjoyed Northanger Abbey belittling the genre, as well as Jane Eyre and Frankenstein taking much from the Gothic Genre, so exploring the Gothic in late 18th and early 19th c has been a major part of my reading recently. I've even read The Vicar of Wakefield, which to me personally, was ridiculous, to explore the non-Gothic 18th
...more
Shima
Well, I have to say I was a bit disappointed at A Sicilian Romance. I was expecting much more hauntings and thrills, but as it turned out, they only really happen at the beginning of the book. There are some strange sounds and sights which are explained at the end of the story, but not nearly as much as I had hoped for.

The book’s main character is Julia, who defies her father’s wishes and consequently has to escape throughout Sicily. I must admit that I am bit prejudiced against women who faint,
...more
Patrick
The story involves an interesting spin on Gothic themes. Marriage, of course, is the centerpiece of the plot. There are plenty of ghosts, villains and decrepit castles to go around, but the author works against your expectations by change the arc of the plot. The result is a refreshing shift in the milieu. The plot does veer in some fantastic directions and the coincidences within the plot place the text on a par with Dickens. The story highlights the trapped woman within her own house. The limi ...more
Jyothi Menon
Rivetting read by the original proponent of gothic mysteries. Racy, smooth, contiguous narration, without superfluity, combination of excellent writing, combining philosophical thoughts, romance, sentiments and mystery. Very intricate plot. The reader's attention is fully engaged from beginning to end. Wonderful description of Italian life, scenery and countryside and customs. Very good dramatic and suspense effects in place, which systematically and incrementally increases in its effect.

One won
...more
Esme
Nächtlicher Spuk, Banditen und sinistere Patriarchen, Heimtücke, unterirdische Geheimgänge und Kerker, Duelle mit Schurken, Flucht und Verfolgung, Liebe und Romantik, finstere Familiengeheimnisse...

Ann Radcliffe war zu ihrer Zeit eine der bekanntesten Schriftstellerin der Gothic Novel. Ihr 1790 erschienener zweiter Roman A sicilian Romance wirkt heute etwas seltsam und wird auch niemandem mehr eine Gänsehaut bescheren können.

Sizilien im 16. Jahrhundert. Im Castle Mazzini leben der Marquis, seine
...more
Italo Italophiles
Mrs. Ann Ward Radcliffe (b.1764-d.1823) is the English novelist who is considered to be the mother of Gothic Romance Novels. Her books, that starred damsels in distress, appealed mostly to damsels in her time-period, educated women, young and old, wanting escapist, romantic reads. But plenty of men read them too! Mrs. Radcliffe wrote several of these sorts of novels, all of which inspired her contemporaries and became the standard for most all romantic fiction thereafter.

A Sicilian Romance was f
...more
Dianne Landry
I have always seen Anne Radcliffe's name referenced in other works as the first in the gothic romance genre so I have, naturally, been curious about her works. I picked this one up as it was her fist novel and I have to say, for a book written in 1760, I really enjoyed it.

I have to admit I had the mystery figured out pretty early on but any fan of mysteries would. That said, it was a good little book that helped pass an enjoyable evening.
kasia
This is one of Radcliffe's earlier novels, and it's obvious that she is still perfecting her craft. It's a surprisingly creaky book, all seams and stuffing. Abrupt jumps in time and space, people conveniently happening across each other when they were seemingly lost forever (and can in no way be found by other people looking for them), and a rather ineffective effort to make mysterious occurrences seem supernatural.
Heather
First Ann Radcliffe book I've read. I have heard so much about this author especially through Jane Austen Northanger Abbey and I was looking forward to reading it. I have to say, I enjoyed this novel a lot and can see how the author help set it motion the genre. It was descriptive, poetic, and just down right creepy sometimes. Grab a tea/coffee etc, light a candle, and be prepared to be find out the mysterious of this novel
Emily B
I tried SO hard to like this and to appreciate it within the context of its time (because my seminar tutor specialises in Ann Radcliffe and is publishing a book on her next year, etc, etc)BUT I JUST COULDN'T. It seemed so repetitive. Julia faints and becomes OVERWHELMED with EMOTION and then they hear a "low groan" and "terror rises up" and then they're running across the Sicilian landscape accompanied by A Very Gothic Description Of Wild Mountains And Fading Light On A Very Dark And Stormy Nigh ...more
Trashpalace
Gli elementi tipici ci sono tutti: un vecchio castello abitato da misteriose presenze, passaggi segreti, giovani eroine in pericolo, svenimenti a non finire (più o meno uno ogni tre pagine), ambientazioni esotiche (beh, esotiche per un pubblico inglese di fine '700!), prigioni sotterranee, inspiegabili rumori notturni, banditi in agguato, notti tempestose...

Ann Radcliffe è la regina del romanzo gotico e le sue opere ebbero un enorme successo di pubblico. Lettura di evasione di altri tempi, che
...more
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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
More about Ann Radcliffe...
The Mysteries of Udolpho The Italian The Romance of the Forest The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne Gaston de Blondeville

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“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.” 0 likes
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