I’ve spent the last month in the world of Ann Radcliffe. Since my student days, I’ve been aware of her work, her legacy and her impact on the genre. I’ve always been surprised that she’s not on more of the set reading material for the Gothic, especially considering how important she was in paving the way for other writers and for establishing so many of the key tropes. I knew from the moment I started writing my column on the lost and forgotten voices of horror that I’d have to feature Ann Radcliffe.
Of her six novels, I decided to focus on the one that propelled her to fame The Romance of the Forest. It’s a great read, fast-paced and much easier to read than some of denser texts that seem to typify the period. In fact, it was so action-packed that it was hard to keep up with, the plot veering towards the absurd at some moments. But what made reading Radcliffe so worthwhile was her use of such extraordinary landscapes. Her descriptions of these places are beautiful, poetic, terrifying. It’s not a world you want to leave.
To read more about Radcliffe’s world, click here to view my column on This is Horror.