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The Mysteries of Udolpho, Frankestein

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The Mysteries of Udolpho

The best example of the Gothic genre.

The plot is very complicated & improbable. Emily St Aubert is the heroine. After being left an orphan she goes to live with her father's sister, a vulgar & scheming widow who eventually succeeds in marrying Montoni, an unscrupilous Italian adventurer. Montoni forces Emily to abandon her lover Valancourt & takes her & his wife to Italy where Emily leads a very unhappy life 1st in Venice & then in the castle of Udolpho in the Appenines. After various adventures she is at last re-united with Valancourt in France.

Romantic referred to aspects of nature inspiring admiring feelings while sublime referred to aspects inspiring feelings of awe.

Ann Radcliffe married the manager of The English Chronicle and travelled widely with him.

2 main emotional aspects prevail: horror & sentiment. Good & bad. Full of apparently supernatural events which are later rationally explained.

T.M.ofU. plot highly improble ment to create fearful situations; set in the past to add remoteness & mystery, setted in haunted castles in wild & lonely landscapes, the description of the setting reinforces the main character's feelings. Fear, horror, suspence & a sense of impending danger. The time of the day add melancholy & gloom.


Wrote while Mary Shelley was spending some time in Switzerland where she had been reading German ghost stories that inspired this novel.

Frankestein is narrated in the 1st person by 3 different narrators. It starts as an epistolary novel in which an English explorer, Walton, describes his experiences in the Arctic to his sister. He tells her about his meeting with the scientist Frankestein in his pursuit of the monster he had himself created. Ther follows a report in Frankestein's own words of the dreadful story starting with the creation of the monster. Frankestein's narration also contains a long written report by the monster himself in which he explains how he came to behave in the way he did. The pursuit of the monster ends with his creator's death and his own suicide.

Suspence, a sense of impending danger, & the use of emotional language are typical of Gothic tradition, but Frankestein differs from the tradition in including the type of dreadful event which is not based on mistery but on consequences of scientific research. As such it is also considered the 1st novel of science fiction. In the extract the scene is set in a pleasant spring landscape and the monster expresses benevolent feelings which soon turn into rage & desire for vengeance when he is rejected by mankind.


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