The Romance of the Forest
Ann Radcliffe drastically influenced the Gothic novel as a genre in the 1790s. Her books combined elements of Romanticism (depictions of the natural) with more traditional Gothic ideals (i.e., the supernatural) established by Horace Walpole and other authors before her. She achieved wild success in her lifetime for any author, let alone a female novelist: Radcliffe was the highest paid author of her time. The Romance of the Forest exemplifies her style of writing. The text’s protagonist, Adeline, repeatedly escapes from fearful circumstances, which, despite their otherworldly qualities, always have a logical explanation in the end. Adeline serves as the text’s melodramatic, constantly terrified female heroine, often fainting and crying at her circumstances. Frequently, she is threatened in a manner which evokes her sexuality. Thus, in many senses, Radcliffe depicts Adeline in a rather regressive, misogynistic manner. Still, many have argued that Adeline’s repeated refusal to marry a villainous man is a sort of feminist resistance.
Lehigh University Catalog Record: https://asa.lib.lehigh.edu/Record/262665
A later edition of this work has been digitized and is available through HathiTrust.
Ann Radcliffe (1764-1832)
The Romance of the Forest, Interspersed with Some Pieces of Poetry
London: T. Hookham and J. Carpenter, 1791