Books I didn't like · Classic English Literature.

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Anne Radcliffe

‘You speak like a heroine,’ said Montoni, contemptuously; ‘we shall see if you can suffer like one.’

This book is one of two which I couldn’t finish. I give up!!

I read this book because it was mentioned in Northanger Abbey that the female protagonist read Gothic novels.

I told a friend that I had only given up on one book. This book must be added to the mournful little collection. I tried. Sweet Jesus, I tried…

This book is over 600 pages long. This is too long and the narrative was a bit mangled. Of course, for its day, it really was one of the first books of its kind to be written in the Gothic genre. I respect it very much and there were some good bits in the story but it couldn’t salvage my indifference by the time I got 500 pages in!

The amount of times Emily St. Aubert fainted in the story got so tedious it reminded me of the part of the movie Slipper and The Rose when the prince voices his dislike of swooning princesses. Emily faints repeatedly in many scenes, and when she’s not fainting she’s writing soppy poetry. Maybe that was what women did in those days but it just makes her to be a very weak character. Her aunt did come across as unintentionally comedic sometimes but even so the story just had so many characters shoved in for the sake of the excuse for a ‘story’ and I repeatedly questioned whether or not I should care for the characters.

I’ve never had to be alone in the world devoid of parents or family so obviously I can’t identify with the typical Gothic heroine. Emily was supposed to be around 18 or so I think, and in a society where women had no rights under the law it must’ve been difficult struggling under the villany of her uncle, Count Montoni, while she pined for her beloved Valencourt. I can see why Austen sought to satirize this book, for there are innumerable similar elements between the two stories. The religious elements of the story are also very exemplified. I can understand this from a societal point of view but to a modern perspective it just a bit odd.

I might return to this book one day, but for the moment I leave it unread.

MY RATING: *.5 / *****

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