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The Mysteries of Udolpho (Anglais) Broché – 26 octobre 2011

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Présentation de l'éditeur

With its insightful portrayals of her protagonist's inner life, Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho was a hugely influential work of early Gothic horror. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Jacqueline Howard. Emily St Aubert lives with her loving, enlightened parents in exquisitely happy rural isolation. But when she is tragically orphaned, the beautiful young woman is thrown on the mercy of her heartless aunt's sinister new husband. The villainous Signor Montoni has designs upon his wife's fortune, and that of her niece, and imprisons them in the gloomy medieval castle Udolpho. Separated from her beloved Valancourt, Emily must cope with torments of wild imaginings and terrors, as ghostly omens and attempts upon her virtue and life threaten to overwhelm her. One of the most popular novels of its time, The Mysteries of Udolpho continues to grip readers with its vivid characters, its sublime Alpine settings and its dramatic sense of suspense and danger. In her introduction, Jacqueline Howard discusses the novel's huge success when it was first published, its place as a groundbreaking work of the Gothic genre, and Radcliffe's imaginative use of history, poetry, landscape and the supernatural. This edition also includes further reading, a chronology, and notes. Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823) was the leading exponent of Gothic fiction. During her lifetime she published five novels including A Sicilian Romance (1790), The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and The Italian (1797), as well as a collection of European travel writings. Her novels were immensely popular, and much imitated. If you enjoyed The Mysteries of Udolpho, you might like Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings, also available in Penguin Classics.

Biographie de l'auteur

Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823) was the leading exponent of Gothic fiction. During her lifetime she published five novels including A Sicilian Romance (1790), The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and The Italian (1797), as well as a collection of European travel writings. Her novels were immensely popular and much imitated.Jacqueline Howard is Co-ordinator of English and Languages at St. Mary's College in Adelaide, South Australia, and author of 'Reading Gothic Fiction: A Bakhtinian Approach'.

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Format: Poche Achat vérifié
Ce livre est recommandé par Jane Austen dans un de ses ouvrages (je ne sais plus lequel). C'est un best seller de l'époque victorienne. J'ai trouvé ça assez amusant de lire ce livre, best seller à son époque, et de me mettre dans la peau d'une jeune lectrice redoutant les "horreurs" annoncées, le suspens dont parle Austen elle-même. Car effectivement, c'est un livre où l'on s'horrifie, s'évanouit, perd ses sens à qui mieux mieux, ce qui est assez drôle du coup, car entre le style "horreur" de cette époque et le style "horreur" actuel, il y a un grand pas!!

Le bémol de cet ouvrage, ce sont de très longues descriptions, des passages entiers dédiés aux paysages et autres... Qui parfois endorment un peu. Cependant, ils ont le mérite de nous plonger vraiment dans l'histoire.

J'ai beaucoup apprécié la finesse des personnages, ils ont vraiment un côté "inspirant". De façon générale, on ressort un peu fatigué de la lecture mais heureux, car ce livre vaut effectivement la peine d'être lu malgré les quelques inconvénients qu'il présente.

Je l'ai lu en anglais pour bénéficier de la finesse de l'écriture originale. Cependant je dois dire que la majorité des événements se passe hors d'Angleterre, alors je pense vraiment que vous ne serez pas dépaysé si vous le lisez en français, peut-être même est-il mieux de le lire en français d'ailleurs étant donné qu'une grande partie de l'action se passe en France.
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x93682390) étoiles sur 5 112 commentaires
110 internautes sur 115 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x933dc8ac) étoiles sur 5 Literary Perfection 10 novembre 2001
Par Daniel Jolley - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I fear I don't have the words to fully explain just how important, enjoyable, and breath-taking this novel is to me; The Mysteries of Udolpho is simply one of the greatest written works ever produced. While this is a Gothic novel, arguably the greatest Gothic novel ever written, it is so much more than that. "Gothic" denotes dark castles, spectral haunts, dastardly deeds performed by cruel, mysterious men--certainly these elements are here. However, a large portion of this novel is simply beautiful--no one I know of has ever described the simple grandeur of life and nature or waxed more poetically on the noble merits of love and honor as does Ann Radcliffe.
Emily is one of the most memorable characters in all of fiction. To be frank, I simply fell in love with her. Through her, I was able to not only see but to better appreciate life itself and the simple beauties it manifests. When she was hurt or pained, I shared her sorrow; many times, I felt compelled to jump up and somehow defend her against the monstrous injustices inflicted upon her. I admired her morality and deep commitment to honor, a commitment so deep that she sacrificed in deference to it her own deep love for Valancourt, a love so deep that it alone allowed her to withstand the horrors of Count Montoni and the castle of Udolpho. Certainly, Emily is very sensitive and overdramatic, and she does tend to faint a lot, but she is a pure angel to someone like myself who is a Victorian at heart.
The Gothic horror is very well done, but it does not take up nearly as much of the novel as I had anticipated. Radcliffe can bring chills to readers even today. The description of someone's silent entry by night into Emily's room is spine-tingling, as are the descriptions of Emily's reluctant journeys down to the catacombs beneath the castle. The wide-eyed Annette's rambling descriptions of supernatural manifestations feed Emily's and the reader's own fears. Emily escapes from the nefarious castle about two-thirds of the way through the novel, but a number of strange events at Chateau-le-Blanc quickly serve to return the reader to the dark dimensions of fright. At that point, I wondered how so much story could be left to tell, but Radcliffe introduced new characters and new situations as compelling as those that had come before and succeeded in absorbing me even further into this world of her creation. Lady Blanche inspired in me many of the feelings I felt for Emily, and the resulting story not only added much to the experience of this novel but ultimately helped to tie many threads together. The experience of Emily and Annette in the late Countess' room, shut up for 20 years since the lady's mysterious death, was as frightening as any scene that took place inside the walls of Udolpho. I did worry as I neared the final pages that Radcliffe would not successfully explain everything that had taken place or would leave some loose ends dangling--the only thing I was left wondering, however, was what happened to the dog Emily took with her to Udolpho after she escaped.
I wish I could mention all of the wonderful characters and all of the scenes and events, both beautiful and horrific, to be found in these pages. These were times when I literally had to put one hand across the page to keep from jumping ahead to see what was about to happen. I do want to stress the beauty and romance of the novel because these aspects are overshadowed by the perception people have of Gothic literature. The story of Emily and Valancourt is one of the greatest love stories in literature. Future readers, please don't pick the novel up until such a time as you are truly committed to reading it; it is rather long, and this is not a novel you will want to lay aside for several days at a time. Also, the first 100 pages or so are somewhat hard to get through. Radcliffe paints a living portrait of nature in these pages, describing more details than I could ever even hope to witness. You won't encounter the Gothic horror you may be expecting until you get rather deeply into the story, so keep that in mind. Approach this novel as you would a work of art because that is exactly what it is.
61 internautes sur 64 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x933dc8dc) étoiles sur 5 Buy from Quality Classics instead 8 septembre 2010
Par Cspinesrgn - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
I agree with the first reviewer and wish I had read the review before starting the book. Many sentences are left hanging. When I downloaded a Quality Classics edition for 99 cents I discovered that all poetry is left out of this free book. The poetry is not just fluff. It is crucial to the book so do not waste your time with this free edition.
52 internautes sur 55 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x933dcd14) étoiles sur 5 free kindle edition 5 août 2010
Par japaul - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I haven't read the book yet, but this free kindle edition does not include all of the text. It leaves out all of the poetry which seems to be important to the plot. I suggest buying a different version for the kindle.
27 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x933dccfc) étoiles sur 5 Unexpected Gothic Pleasures 2 juillet 2010
Par K. Jacobi - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I have been intrigued by this novel for years, but I only knew Udolpho by reputation until I finally read the novel recently. Many studies of Gothic fiction cite Radcliffe's novel as a classic Gothic text, one of the early examples that set the standard for the genre as we now think of it. Scholars of the Female Gothic subgenre in particular point to Udolpho as an early example, mostly due to Emily St. Aubert's perfect turn as the helpless female heroine who became a stock character in early Gothic fiction. Then, of course, I read Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey in a college seminar and imagined Udolpho to be a laugh-worthy, melodramatic, fake horror fest. I can't say there aren't any laughable moments (Emily's poems), or that there isn't melodrama (lots of fainting; the parting scene between Emily and Valancourt at the end of Volume I), or even that there isn't some fake horror (all of the "mysteries" are explained by the novel's close); however, Radcliffe's novel defied my expectations in more ways than it reaffirmed them.

The Oxford World's Classics edition with the introduction by Terry Castle is the only edition I've read, but I recommend it particularly because of the introduction, which I found very interesting and insightful after finishing the novel. One point that Castle makes is that despite the novel's Gothic label, Udolpho is more like "a disconcerting textual hybrid." The multi-generic nature of the novel is one of the features that most surprised me; it takes quite a while for Emily to become imprisoned in Udolpho and what precedes her time there is almost anti-Gothic. Emily has perfect parents and the perfect upbringing, though she begins to suffer relatively early on when her mother dies. After this point, she and her father embark on a long trip across France, described at length by Radcliffe in what Castle terms "a bizarre quasi-travelogue." Here we get super-detailed descriptions of natural scenery and of the innate goodness of the St. Aubert clan. Yes, some of the nature described could be filed under "sublime," and such descriptions are standard in many Gothic texts. They are also standard in many Romantic texts, and while the overlap between those two genres/movements is significant, for some reason the Gothic has been viewed as the dark, popular (ew!) sibling of the (maybe) sunnier (self-satisfied?), high-art-producing Romanticism. While the St. Auberts' innocence and goodness make them prime targets for our evil Italian villains (Montoni, primarily), they do spend a lot of their time happily exploring nature, and even after several tragedies befall her and dampen her spirits (and make her faint a lot), Emily is relatively cheerful at times. In other words, the mood is not always Gothic in the novel; indeed, it's probably Gothic less often than it is something else. And then besides the travel narrative, there are also those poems that Emily composes on a whim, about sea nymphs and weary travelers. Radcliffe also incorporates excerpts from poetry into her prose, along with lines from Shakespeare plays, and she begins each chapter with epigraphs from other works. I think that in many ways, the mixing of genres in the novel ultimately makes it a more interesting and more complex text.

Udolpho is a very long novel (almost 700 pages), but, as an insanely popular best-seller in the late 18th century, Radcliffe's work was apparently quite a page-turner. Even Austen's Henry Tilney admits that after hijacking his younger sister's copy of the novel, he "could not lay down again; I remember finishing it in two days--my hair standing on end the whole time." For modern readers, there's not going to be much in Udolpho that is particularly scary, but Radcliffe does create suspense by introducing mysterious plot elements and not resolving those elements for, literally, hundreds of pages. But because all of those elements are, indeed, resolved, and any potentially supernatural phenomena are explained away, the novel isn't really about scaring the reader at all. Instead, we are invited to witness, as many other reviewers have noted, the coming-of-age of the heroine, as she struggles to overcome her passion and superstition to live a life governed by reason and logic. At the same time, however, I agree with Castle that Radcliffe aims "to reawaken in her readers a sense of the numinous - of invisible forces at work in the world." These forces are not exactly supernatural, though; instead, "Radcliffe represents the human mind itself as a kind of supernatural entity." In this sense, Udolpho is truly a Gothic classic as a result of its interest not in mysterious external forces, but in the way in which the human mind registers such forces, and how it attempts to understand and work through them. The Gothic's preoccupation with human psychology is more often-commented on in response to American Gothic works like Poe's short stories or Female Gothic classics like Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," but I see this as a primary interest of Radcliffe's in Udolpho, as well.

I have given the novel five stars, which reflects my personal enjoyment of the work and my interest in the themes and issues it raises for a reader. It will probably be most well-loved by those interested in Gothic fiction, literature by women, and those who are enamored by lengthy, patient, meticulously-detailed narratives. As a fan of all of those things, I recommend the novel and its introduction very highly.
45 internautes sur 49 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x933e10f0) étoiles sur 5 An important and a grand novel 14 septembre 2003
Par Paul J. Rask - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
When published in 1794, this lengthy tale of romance and intrigue became a best-seller, reportedly the first best-seller ever. When reading it, one can very well imagine the author -- a reclusive English lady -- writing this story for her own entertainment and as a record of her own day dreams, her intimate flights of fancy.
There is no question that the sweet, suffering, intelligent, compassionate, level-headed, courageous Emily St. Aubuert of the story is the author's other self, the self she imagines herself to be. The trials she faces as her other self, she faces with courage and intelligence and outstanding patience: the loss of parents, the awful tyranny of her aunt with whom she has been placed as a ward, the terror of the Archvillain Montoni who kept her captive in the remote, ghostly castle of Udolpho and her daring escape -- all were most likely Ms. Radcliffe's day dreams set to paper. Afterall, she was childless and well-bred and in those times, there was little for a well-educated lady of her class do but to read and dream and write.
And she developed her craft grandly. Her descriptions of scenery, the locations of each set-piece of her novel are vivid and memorable. She had an eye for the sweep of detail of a landscape, a forest, a plain, a mountain and she had the talent of painting her scenes under shrouds of mystery and melancholy.
Emily's love affair with the chevalier Valancourt to whom she gave her entire capacity for love, and his betrayal of it and proof of his unworthiness, comes as a disappointment. But then, at the end there is a reconciliation and appropriate romantic solution of the problem, however unlikely.
The novel is long, too long, really. But for the era it was written, when time was more abundant, such lengths are understandable and acceptable.
It is said, with accuracy in my opinion, that this is an important novel for those who study English-American literature because it is the forerunner of the gothic novels that have earned a large modern following. And the way to read it, is not to hurry through the pages, but to relax and relish Ms. Radcliffe's marvelous descriptions which serve as delicious backdrops to her romantic melodrama.
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