Samantha's Reviews > The Mysteries of Udolpho

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
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Often unintentionally funny to a modern reader, full of laughable attitudes and purple prose, meandering in plot and ridiculous in machinations, The Mysteries of Udolpho was nonetheless an enjoyable read.

I picked this up because I'd read Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, which serves in some ways as a parody of this very popular at the time book. Now I can see why it was so ripe for parody. It's overblown and melodramatic. But it's also quite a lot of fun if you take it in the right spirit, and laid the groundwork for much of what have become the tropes of Gothic novels. Since I've begun writing one myself, I've been reading more of this genre.

We have a pure and virtuous heroine with mysteries in her heritage that she knows nothing of, who falls in love with a stalwart young gentleman only to have a series of unfortunate events (lots of death, threatening noblemen, and misunderstandings) get in the way of their happiness.

The settings were lovely, and lovingly described. The heightened emotion was sometimes ridiculous, but when I could turn off my brain enough to go with it, quite a fun ride. I had to laugh at how many men wanted to take our heroine for their own. Were there no other attractive women in all of France and Italy? And the purposeful delaying of gratification became ridiculous. It was like watching an episode of Dragon Ball Z, where it might take ten episodes for a person to cross a room and throw a punch.

Despite all its flaws, it was still an engaging story.

The true moral of this story is that "protecting" your daughter by keeping her ignorant will land her completely avoidable trouble.
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Reading Progress

April 5, 2019 – Started Reading
April 5, 2019 – Shelved
April 5, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
April 29, 2019 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Richard (new)

Richard LOL, I tried it once, but didn't get very far. :-) I'd rather re-read Northanger Abbey... or re-watch Jane Austen Book Club...

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