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Zofloya: Or the Moor (World's Classics) [Paperback]

Charlotte Dacre , Kim Ian Michasiw
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Zofloya: or The Moor (Oxford World's Classics) Zofloya: or The Moor (Oxford World's Classics) 4.2 out of 5 stars (5)
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Book Description

1 May 1997 World's Classics
"Few venture as thou hast in the alarming paths of sin." This is the final judgement of Satan on Victoria di Loredani, the heroine of "Zofloya", or "The Moor" (1806), a tale of lust, betrayal, and multiple murder set in Venice in the last days of the 15th century. The novel follows Victoria's progress from spoilt daughter of indulgent aristocrats, through a period of abuse and captivity, to a career of deepening criminality conducted under Satan's watchful eye. Charlotte Dacre's narrative deftly displays her heroine's movement from the vitalized position of Ann Radcliffe's heroines to a fully conscious commitment to vice that goes beyond that of `Monk' Lewis's deluded Ambrosio. The novel's most daring aspect is its anatomy of Victoria's intense sexual attraction to her Moorish servant Zofloya that transgresses taboos both of class and race. A minor scandal on its first publication, and a significant influence on Byron and Shelley, Zofloya has been unduly neglected. Contradicting idealized stereotypes of women's writing, the novel's portrait of indulged desire, gratuitous cruelty, and monumental self-absorption retains considerable power to disturb. The introduction to this edition, the first for nearly 200 years, examines why Zofloya deserves to be read alongside established Gothic classics as the highly original work of an intriguing and unconventional writer.

Product details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New edition edition (1 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192832395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192832399
  • Product Dimensions: 18.3 x 11.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,664,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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About the Author

is Associate Professor of English at York University, Ontario. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new perspective on women in literature 20 Mar 2006
By A Customer
For those used to the gentle, passive heroines of such gothic writers as Ann Radcliffe, Victoria di Loredani, the heroine of Charlotte Dacre's "Zofloya or the Moor", makes a refreshing change. She is a strong and violent woman, very passionate and she will go to any lengths to get what she wants.
I won't go into any further details of the plot but I would recommend this novel highly if you like unconventional styles of women's writing and aren't too easily shocked.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Erotically charged tale of passion and murder. 14 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This tale of lust and murder, set in fifteenth century Italy, is a far cry from the novels of Jane Austen. Published in 1806, Charlotte Dacre's novel is firmly in the romantic tradition, with its theme of unbridled passion and its fatal consequences. It also has good Gothic credentials - violence, sex and magic are the key ingredients.
The basic premise is that Victoria di Loredani, an aristocrat born with a passionate nature, could have led a virtuous life had she been properly guided. Unfortunately her mother's adultery becomes the primary influence on Victoria's decelopment and we follow her descent from nobility into a life of crime, dissolution and degradation. Unfortunately the story dissipates into allegory towards the end, but despite this it is well worth reading. The plot is fairly well constructed and Dacre is an impressive stylist.
The notes to the Oxford World's Classics edition are generall helpful and unobtrusive. The introduction usefully places the novel in its literary and historical context.
Since 'Zofloya or The Moor' doesn't quite live up to its early promise I award it three stars.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Often Overlooked 28 Feb 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When talking of late eighteenth gothic novels Radcliffe and Lewis instantly spring to mind and the differences between their style and content. However, what is usually overlooked is Charlotte Dacre's wonderful novel that in some ways bridges the gap between the other two.

The story opens in Venice in the late fifteenth century at a birthday party for the fifteen year old Victoria. That night Count Ardolpho comes to visit, and indeed stays as a guest. Victoria's parents are deeply in love and they have accomodated and spoilt their children to excess. Ardolpho gets his kicks out of destroying families and thus sets about seducing Victoria's mother. He succeeds and after Victoria's brother has left and her father has been killed the story enters its main path.

The story mainly takes place around Victoria and her adventures of captivity, escape, infatuation and lust. Zofloya the title character himself does not appear until halfway through the tale, and is the servant of Victoria's brother-in-law. With Zofloya, Victoria is drawn deeper down the path of criminality and vice; indeed if you have ever read The Monk (Oxford World's Classics) you will easily work out who Zofloya is.

This book in some ways reads more like a Jacobean play than others of the genre. On its first publication it caused a minor scandal, as women surely weren't supposed to write about some things. Indeed, Charlotte Dacre was ahead of her time writing about strong women with sexual urgings, this had always been the domain of male authors in mainly erotic fiction. This book is really good and frenetically paced, but the main question has to be, has she out-camped Matthew Lewis?
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Initally very exciting this book unfortunatly trails off to a somewhat insipid ending, however there is still plenty interesting gore to be found throughout. It is a surprising novel in several ways; the protagonist is one of the most brutally unnerving females I have ever encountered and the eponymous Zofloya holds an aura of sexual suspension perfectly. A black slave who comands authority, awe and submission, no wonder this amazing novel was shunned from the traditional English cannon. Charlotte Dacre has created a female which would make even Lady Macbeth tremble. As well as an absorbing storyline there is also archaic spellings, snappy chapters and enough blood to make it a worthy advisary to the scottish play.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read to enjoy 30 July 2013
By Hari
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are so many novels in the market and makes this a readers delight It is written with much passion.
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