Who the hell was Ann Radcliffe?

This episode accompanies our episode on Ann Radcliffe. That is The Frankenpod, episode 9 season 2.


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Ann Radcliffe was one of the foundational writers of the gothic novel. But the term gothic novels was not in common usage so they were referred to as romances.

Ann Radcliffe was born ann ward on july 6th 1764.

Her dad was a haberdasher and her mum was, well, her mum.

She stayed with her uncle Thomas from time to time too. This is in contrast to Horace walpole who we talked about recently who was pretty well off an powerful.

Then she got married to Wlliam Radcliffe

Are you noticing how few details we have about Anne?

They had no kids but they did have a dog named Chance. William who was an editor of The English Chronicle was often very late to come home, so Anne started writing.

And she wrote quite a lot. In total she wrote 6 novels. 5 of these were published during her lifetime

  1. The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne  1789.

  2. A Sicilian Romance 1790, in two volumes.

  3. The Romance of the Forest 1791, in three volumes.

  4. The Mysteries of Udolpho 1794, in four volumes.

  5. The Italian 1797, in three volumes.

  6. Gaston de Blondeville 1826, in four volumes, which was published after her death.

The substantial payments she received for her works allowed her and William to travel with Chance in tow.

Then she disappeared. Not that she was appearing in public much to begin with, but she became even more reclusive. There were rumours that she had been driven insane by her gothic writings.

She died in 1823 aged 58.

So apart from that we know she was short, beautiful, shy and clever.

It’s not like people haven’t tried to write biographies of her… Christina Rossetti the poet who wrote The Goblin market tried but gave up as she just couldn’t find enough information.

The most enduring of her works are The mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian.

Published by

Morgan Mushroom

I write the things that put the mouth words in your ears for The FrankenPod and oodles of copywriting

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