The Mysteries of Udolpho


Ann Radcliffe

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Tonight, by listener request, we’ll read the opening to 1794’s "The Mysteries of Udolpho" by English author Ann Radcliffe. Radcliffe was a pioneer of Gothic fiction and the most popular author of her day. Later the author Dostoevsky would write that he had been influenced by Radcliffe as a child. "I used to spend the long winter hours before bed listening... agape with ecstasy and terror, as my parents read aloud to me from the novels of Ann Radcliffe. Then I would rave deliriously about them in my sleep.” The Mysteries of Udolpho tells of Emily St. Aubert, who suffers, among other misadventures, the death of her mother and father, supernatural terrors in a gloomy castle and machinations of an Italian brigand.