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A Sicilian Romance (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 15 Oct 1998
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|Paperback, 15 Oct 1998||
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In A Sicilian Romance (1790) Radcliffe began to forge the unique mixture of the psychology of terror and poetic description that would make her the great exemplar of the Gothic nove, and the idol of the Romantics. This early novel explores the cavernous landscapes and labyrinthine passages of Sicily's castles and covents to reveal the shameful secrets of its all-powerful aristocracy. Julia and Emilia Mazzini live secluded in an ancient mansion near the Straits of Messina. After their father's return to the island a neglected part of the house is haunted by a series of mysterious sights and sounds. The origin of these hauntings is only discovered after a series of breathless pursuits through dreamlike pastoral landscapes. When revelation finally comes, it forces the heroines to challenge the united forces of religious and patriarchal authority. This book is intended for general readers, especially those interested in Gothic fiction and women's writing, students of English literature, 18th-century literature, Romanticism, and women's studies at 6th form, undergraduate and postgraduate level.
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Famous Five? The novel features dark characters skulking around abandoned parts of the castle at night, underground passages, caverns and locked rooms one of which contains ... a prisoner.
Baroque? The style of writing e.g. `The count, who trembled at the dangers which environed her, and at the probab- ilities he saw of her being torn from him for ever, suffered a consideration of them to overcome the dangerous delicacy which at this mournful period required his silence.'(See what I mean?)
There is a also a touch of Romeo and Juliet: Julia (what a surprised!) is to be married to a count she doesn't love so she escapes under cover of night.
Julia is a bit of a hot-house flower (wimp) for most of the story, swooning and crying with (I think) unwarranted frequency.
Some of the spelling in this edition is a bit odd. I know that some English spellings have changed since 1790 but in this story honour and honor are used alternately.