05 May 2010

the Mysteries of UDOLPHO, The Players Part I


Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho, written in 1794, is an integral part of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. Austen's blurring of the lines in her mock Gothic novel with Udolpho's plot is one of the many devices Austen calls upon in her novels to lure her devoted readers into the Austen web of literature.

I was lured. The Mysteries of Udolpho is a must read for any curious student of Austen.You will not be treading lightly though-dearest, but your efforts will be rewarded. Poe and Sade read Udolpho too, so there are a multitude insights  and influences to be discovered. The beautiful orphaned Emily St Aubert is imprisoned by her guardian Count Montoni. The Count schemes to sell the lady to the highest bidder. The Count's remote castle in the Apennines is the setting for much of the novel and darling Emily finds 'her present life...like the dream of a distempered imagination, or like one of those frightful fictions, in which the wild genius of the poets sometimes delighted. Reflection brought only regret, and anticipation terror.


Kazakh model, Ruslana Korshunova ,
who fell to her death a few years ago.

image from here

the players


a well read and Virtuous Beauty

The death of Emily's beloved father, triggers a series of events that destroy the Emily's cloistered world.

Manchon came running, and barking before her...
The dog still fawned and ran around her,
and then flew towards the carriage...
'Manchon's gone to look for him,' Emily sobbed aloud;
and, on looking towards the carriage,
which still stood with the door open,
saw the animal spring into it.
The dog now came running to Emily, 
then to the carriage, and then back again to her,
whining an discontented.
'Poor rogue!... thou hast lost thy master,
thou mayst well cry!'

"Lady Emily" by Sofonisba

Saint Aubert

 Bronzino here
 Madame Chevron
Emily's vain and selfish aunt is seduced by and marries Count Montini.

by Sofonisba Anguissola

Count Monrano
Emily's Venetian suitor


Count Montini
Radcliffe's Gothic Villian

by Sofonisba

dashing suitor to Emily, friend to Emily's deceased father Saint Aubert.
Her heart, as it gave her back the image of Valancourt, 
mourned in vain regret, but reason soon came with a consolation,
which, though feeble at first,acquired vigour from reflection. 
She considered, that, whatever might be her sufferings, 
she had withheld from involving him in misfortune, 
and that, whatever her future sorrows could be, 
she was, at least, free from self-reproach.

Giovanni Morini here

UDOLPHO, The Castle, Part II, next week

more about SOFONISBA here
image 1 from raucousroyals here
image 2 the Appinines from wikipedia
all Sofonisba images from here



  1. Wow, it sounds dark, intrigueing and and quite modern... Thanks for sharing. Love from London x

  2. I love tuning in to see what I can learn from you!

  3. It is a great book-if you love books! and investigating a genre. pgt

  4. One of my favorite things is to read into another time or period.

    There is something about life centuries ago, same struggles in a sense. Our world has only compunded into a bigger struggle at times and can feel overwhelming if you are pulled in.

    Simply a better life in the past? In some ways yes but today brings excitment and reaching those from a new day or time together through a color infused screen.

    Lovely drawings of the players; enjoy the read! Thank you for the post.

  5. What a fun Gothic Romp! The genius of this post is the fantastic paintings you have chosen to illustrate the novel. Well done! We can't wait until next weeks installment!

  6. I shall rush out and get Radcliff's Udolpho. I am intrigued.I must say that I was all wrapped up in something more modern "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo:and then the second one and now the third is waiting for me ""The girl who kicked the hornet's nest". and also just finished "Rogue's Gallery" about the Met Museum ( fascinating if gossipy) However I am and have been always intrigued with that age and have waiting for me in the wings Elizabeth Gaskins ""Cranford" but if I can't get your udolpho I shall rewatch "Pride and Prejudice" I DO go to bed every night with Colin Firth.Love Dorothy

  7. How do you find these things? You are amazing and thoroughly enjoying. Thanks so much!!!

  8. I've always meant to read The Mysteries of Udolpho. You've inspired me to buy it finally. What a beautiful post you've created and adding the incredibly beautiful Kazakh model Ruslana Korshunova that fell to her death a few years ago.

  9. Maison and Swedish, many thanks, I do love doing this sort of post- have a couple done of the Moonstone and the Yellow Room-I do love a mystery. what was interesting about this book too- is thinking about how the characters really looked-because of the Austen, Northanger connections is it hard to get them out of those Empire waists. I also found the moods of Udolpho to be very descriptive. It is a bit stilted-Ms Radcliffe-perhaps that is why I so enjoyed it! pgt

  10. Dorothy-You, I know will thoroughly enjoy it! xo, pgt

  11. cynthia, I find myself reading lots of bibliographies-I had come across this one a time or two in different novels- it is a fun read. some truly beautifully expressed thoughts held within the story.

  12. Elizabeth, So glad you mentioned the model, name and tragedy. I did not remember to go back to the link I posted and note that. What a beauty and loss, This haunting,made more so by our knowledge of her death, seemed to capture some of the heroine and her story. pgt

  13. Udolpho must await through the weekend- Promises on Monday. pgt

  14. This is all just marvelous...Little Augury is an Aladdin's cave of delights.

    1. thank you Philip! these are a delight for me to do and I need to create another soon. pgt



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