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A Sicilian Romance

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  2,118 ratings  ·  199 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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3.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,118 ratings  ·  199 reviews


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K.D. Absolutely
Oct 20, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  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
Jane
Nov 12, 2009 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
Kirsty
Oct 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I am sure that the eagle-eyed amongst you are noticing a theme here, but I have wanted to read Radcliffe’s work for such a long time, and thought that placing A Sicilian Romance onto my Classics Club list would be a nudge in the right direction. First published in 1790, the novel is firmly implanted within the Gothic tradition and veers toward the melodramatic almost from its beginning.

As is often the case with my Classics Club reviews, the following blurb of the Oxford World Classics edition il
...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
Valerie
Mar 12, 2011 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
Jessica
Oct 19, 2015 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. :)
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
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
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
Rebecca
Aug 03, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh lord this was terrible... the number of times the women in the book "fainted with fright" or "swooned with fear" is ridiculous. However this was written in 1790, so even though it's kinda shite by today's standards, back then it was probably the best thing ever...
Monica
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.
Jack Falerni
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
credo il più bel gotico mai letto

Lo consiglio a tutti anche a chi non è propriamente avvezzo a leggere di storie di fantasmi

La Radcliffe sa ritmare perfettamente la storia. Quindi non annoia e non incute troppo paura perchè quando ti porta al culmine e pensi di non farcela più

Spezza con descrizioni o spostando l'attenzione su altri avvenimenti

Tutto sempre molto fluido

Devo recuperare i misteri di Udulpho (o come si scrive)
Mary
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english
Well that was intense.
Sara
May 17, 2010 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 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
Lois
Sep 08, 2015 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 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
Kristina V. Ramos
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read it for class. Have to say the number of times I shook my head or rolled my eyes is pretty high. Seems every character fainted at least twice, in the novel. A lot of comical scenes, which of course aren’t meant to be funny.
It’s a classic. Whatever...
Elif YSLTS
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..
Dannii Elle
This was both the first book I studied during my university degree and my introduction to the female Gothic genre. Despite the infuriating swooning damsels that frequent this, I really enjoyed my experience of reading it.
Berfin Kanat
Sep 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Saatlerdir labirentten çıkmaya çalışıyormuş gibi bir his, ve nihayet kurtulduk & mutlu son!
Celine
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of the earlier works of Ann Radcliffe, the literary giant who helped gain popularity for Gothic literature. A Sicilian Romance started off a bit slow for me, but when the plot really got going, and people were being abducted left and right, shoved into dungeons, hid in monasteries, and are presumed dead about every other chapter, I was hooked.

Although the women in A Sicilian Romance aren't your twenty-first century "kick-ass woman", I was glad to see female characters attempting to create t
...more
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
Monica.A
Terzo romanzo che leggo della Radcliffe. Devo con molto rammarico affermare che, dopo le meraviglie del primo che per me fu L’italiano, l'entusiasmo è andato scemando sempre più. Già leggendo I Misteri di Udolpho avevo notato una certa ripetitività, difetto che qui trova una conferma definitiva. I punti in comune sono davvero troppi per non essere notati. Il romanzo gotico deve, per essere definito tale, rispettare dei canoni ben precisi, quando però il tutto si riduce sempre al medesimo schema, ...more
Gio
Mar 12, 2012 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 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gothic, classics
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
Jesse
Dec 11, 2011 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
Özlem Ertan
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gotik edebiyat denince akla ilk gelen isimlerden biridir Ann Radcliffe. Onun "Sicilya'da Bir Aşk Hikâyesi" (A Sicilian Romance) adlı romanının da gotik yazının değerli örneklerinden biri olduğuna şüphe yok. Sicilya kıyılarındaki Mazzini Şatosu'nun duvarları arasında saklanan karanlık sırları ve envaiçeşit sıkıntıya karşı varlığını koruyan bir aşkın hikâyesini konu edinen kitap, atmosfer yaratımı açısından doyurucu. Ann Radcliffe'in genel eğilimi gereği doğaüstü gibi görünen olaylar mantıklı nede ...more
Kristy
Jun 18, 2011 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 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.
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Ann Radcliffe was an English author, a pioneer of the gothic novel.

Radcliffe was born Ann Ward, her father, William, was a haberdasher, who moved the family to Bath to manage a china shop in 1772. Her mother was Ann Oates of Chesterfield. Radcliffe occasionally lived with her Uncle, Thomas Bentley, in Chelsea, who was in partnership with a fellow Unitarian, Josiah Wedgwood, maker of the famous Wed
...more
“As I walked over the loose fragments of stone, which lay scattered and surveyed the sublimity and grandeur of the ruins, I recurred, by a natural association of ideas, to the times when these walls stood proudly in their original splendor, when the halls were the scenes of hospitality and festive magnificence, and when they resounded with the voices of those whom death had long since swept from earth. "Thus," said I, "shall the present generation - he who now sink in misery - and he who now swim in pleasure, alike pass away and be forgotten.” 4 likes
“How short a period often reverses the character of our sentiments, rendering that which yesterday we despised, today desirable.” 3 likes
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