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The Romance of the Forest [Paperback]

Ann Radcliffe
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 26 2009 Oxford World's Classics
The Romance of the Forest (1791) heralded an enormous surge in the popularity of Gothic novels, in a decade that included Ann Radcliffe's later works, The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian. Set in Roman Catholic Europe of violent passions and extreme oppression, the novel follows the fate of its heroine Adeline, who is mysteriously placed under the protection of a family fleeing Paris for debt. They take refuge in a ruined abbey in south-eastern France, where sinister relics of the past - a skeleton, a manuscript, and a rusty dagger - are discovered in concealed rooms. Adeline finds herself at the mercy of the abbey's proprietor, a libidinous Marquis whose attentions finally force her to contemplate escape to distant regions. Rich in allusions to aesthetic theory and to travel literature, The Romance of the Forest is also concerned with current philosophical debate and examines systems of thought central to the intellectual life of late eighteenth-century Europe.

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Product Description


"Excellent notes and solid introduction. A good example of the gothic mode, of use in an introduction to fiction or survey of the novel class."--Leslie G. Bailey, St. Martin's College

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Chloe Chard is Lecturer in English at the University of Sheffield.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
By A Customer
I admire the way in which the authoress took all of her threads at the end and made them part of a carpet intricate in design. The heroine was lovable, but the romance between her and her lover was too restrictive and cold that I was often disappointed with it and not convinced, all though perhaps it suits the stereotype of the times, but I doubt I could ever keep my feelings so hidden. Despite my many qualms with the book, it was often exciting, and I do credit Radcliffe's ability to set words on paper. It is a perfect example of the gothic genre.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Stereotypical Gothic Aug. 1 2001
By disco75
The contrived situations, coincidences, and overwrought events in this book overwhelm what little character insight and logic are there. Plot-driven, it does engage the way an old fashioned horror movie might, but there are repetitious circlings in the narrative and such helplessness in the protagonist that reader frustration is inevitable. I would have loved this book as a young teen had I been able to master the older English.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Mystery Aug. 5 2002
By A Customer
The story of a persecuted girl who is delivered from one person to another who are compelled by different motives to decide her destiny. Her beauty and refinement of character attract many to her, but only one wins her love and proves worthy of it by his noble actions.
The plots of Radcliffe's mysteries have been efficiently summarized by Russell Noyes in an introduction of 1956:
"The hero is a gentleman of noble birth, likely as not in some sort of disgrace; the heroine, an orphan-heiress, high-strung and sensitive, and highly susceptible to music and poetry and to nature in its most romantic moods. A prominent role is given to the tyrant-villain. He is a man of fierce and morose passions obsessed by the love of power and riches. The villain can usually be counted on to confine the heroine in the haunted wing of a castle because she refuses to marry someone she hates. Whatever the details, Mrs. Radcliffe generally manages the plot and action so that the chief impression is a sense of the young heroine's incessant danger. On oft-repeated midnight prowls about the gloomy passageways of a rambling, ruined castle, the heroine in a quiver of excitement (largely self-induced) experiences a series of hair-raising adventures and narrow escapes. Her emotional tension is kept to the pitch by a succession of strange sights and sounds . . . and by an assorted array of sliding panels, trap doors, faded hangings, veiled portraits, bloodstained garments, and even dark and desperate characters."
Many reviewers claim that no other Radcliffe mystery measures up to her Mysteries of Udolpho. I was hesitant to read others after reading Udolpho and loving it, but I decided not to trust the reviewers and read three more.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good read! Sept. 6 2003
By A Customer
I enjoyed this book. It seemed a bit slow to get going but when it did, I couldn't put it down. When I got to the high point of the story I was anxious to read on and find out what the fate of poor Adeline would be.(The suspense kept me going).
I don' want to give the plot away but, while reading this book I enjoyed the story about the La Motte family. If you like suspense and a bit of turmoil and agony that goes with a gothic tale then read this book! You'll wonder why you didn't read it before.
I gave this book 4 stars because some of the text has typos but otherwise well worth the effort.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars gothic mystery Aug. 11 2002
By dom
this is the third of radcliffe's five "gothic romances" and it truly marks the emerging radcliffean heroine,scene painting, suspense and "romance" that Mother Radcliffe is known for. I am only going to point out that this is a strong novel and should be read with "The Italian" and her longer absolute masterpiece, "The Mysteries of Udolpho." If you are a fan of the gothic and wish to find out how the gothic was born and transformed by Mrs. Radcliffe in the revolutionary 1790s you must read this and the other two novels by her mentioned above.
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