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Famous Like Me > Writer > R > Ann Radcliffe

Profile of Ann Radcliffe on Famous Like Me

Name: Ann Radcliffe  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 9th July 1764
Place of Birth: Holborn, London, England, UK
Profession: Writer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
This article is about the 19th-century author. For the 17th century benefactor of Harvard, see Ann (Radcliffe) Mowlson.

Ann Radcliffe (July 9, 1764 - February 7, 1823) was an English author, a pioneer of the gothic novel.

She was born Ann Ward in Holborn, London, England. She married William Radcliffe, an editor for the English Chronicle, at Bath in 1788. To amuse herself, she began to write fiction, an avocation her husband encouraged.

She published The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne in 1789. This set the tone for the majority of her work, which tended to involve innocent, but heroic young women who find themselves in gloomy, mysterious castles ruled by even more mysterious barons with dark pasts.

Her works were extremely popular among the upper class and the growing middle class, especially among young women. Her works included The Sicilian Romance (1790), The Romance of the Forest (1791), The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), and The Italian (1796).

The success of The Romance of the Forest established Radcliffe as the leading exponent of the historical Gothic romance. Her later novels met with even greater attention, and produced many imitators, and famously, Jane Austen's burlesque of The Mysteries of Udolpho in Northanger Abbey, as well as influencing the works of Sir Walter Scott and Mary Wollstonecraft.

She died on February 7, 1823 from respiratory problems probably caused by pneumonia.

Radcliffe's influence on later writers:

  • Jane Austen
  • William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Sir Walter Scott
  • Wordsworth
  • Coleridge
  • Shelley
  • Keats
  • Byron
  • Dickens's Little Dorrit (1855-7)
  • Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White (1860)
  • The Brontës
    • Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre (1847)
  • Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca (1938)
  • Witold Gombrowicz's Possessed, or The Secret of Myslotch: A Gothic Novel (1939)
  • Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Oval Portrait" drew from Udolpho and mentions Radcliffe by name (somewhat disparagingly) in the introduction.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Ann Radcliffe