1794 The Mysteries of Udolpho: Anne Radcliffe

1794 The Mysteries of Udolpho: Anne Radcliffe

The Mysteries of Udolpho, like Castle of Wolfenbach, is today probably best known because of its appearance in discussions on Gothic novels in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey.

Mrs Anne Radcliffe (1764-1823) was a very successful writer of Gothic novels in the last decade of the 18th century. She has been thought to be the highest paid author of the 1790s. In 1794, She received £500 for the copyright of The Mysteries of Udolpho; nearly twenty years later, Jane Austen received only £110 for the copyright of Pride and Prejudice

Anne Radcliffe made the Gothic novel widely acceptable through her habit of presenting seemingly supernatural events, before providing rational explanations for those events.

First editions of The Mysteries of Udolpho, which was published in 4 volumes in 1794, can still be found by the fastidious collector. Here is the title page of my copy of the first American edition, which was printed by Samuel Etheridge of Boston in three volumes in 1795. Note the mis-spelling of the author’s name.

 The Mysteries of Udolpho was very popular in its day and was republished many times.

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