Ann Radcliffe (9 July, 1764 – 7 February, 1823) was an English author who is known for pioneering the Gothic fiction genre.
Fun Facts about Ann Radcliffe:
- Born as Ann Ward in Holborn, London. The family moved to Bath and managed a China shop. In fact, her uncle, Thomas Bentley, was a partner of Josiah Wedgwood – from the Wedgwood China fame.
- In 1787 Ann Ward married journalist William Radcliffe. As a part-owner and editor of the English Chronicle, Mr. Radcliffe worked many hours. To occupy her time, Mrs. Radcliffe began writing.
- Ms. Radcliffe published fine novels during her lifetime. She was the most popular writer of the time, being called the Shakespeare of romance writers.
- We know very little of Mrs. Radcliffe, she did not appear much in public, or mingled in society.
- In her novels, Ann Radcliffe portrayed females equals to males, even having them overtake male villains.
- In her works, Mrs. Radcliffe contains hostile portrays of Catholics and Catholicism. We don’t know why this is the case, however literary scholars believe that it was partly a response to the 1791 Roman Catholic Relief Act.
- Painters Claude Lorrain and Salvator Rosa were influenced by the expansive landscape descriptions in Ann Radcliffe’s novels. The author, however, rarely visited places she wrote about.
- Some of the notable fans of Ann Radcliffe’s works were Jane Austen, Sir Walter Scott, Harriet Lee, Edgar Allan Poe, and even the Marquis de Sade.
- As a child, Fyodor Dostoyevsky used to “spend the long winter hours before bed” reading or having read to him the novels of Ann Radcliffe.
- Ann Radcliffe died at home, and is buried in a vault in the Chapel of Ease at St George’s, Hanover Square, London.
Zohar — Man of la Book
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