The Enchantress of Words, Sounds and Images: Anniversary Essays on Ann Radcliffe

Posted by Dale Townshend on July 02, 2015 in News tagged with

The Enchantress of Words, Sounds and Images:
Anniversary Essays on Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823)

Edited by

Jakub Lipski
Jacek Mydla

Publisher: Academica Press, LLC Box 60728 Cambridge Station Palo Alto, CA 94306 (650) 329-0685

From the Foreword by Angela Wright:

2014, the 250th birthday of Ann Radcliffe, thankfully witnessed a renewed attention to her major achievements in the literary arena. An international conference devoted to her, a prominent place accorded to her in the British Library’s exhibition ‘Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination’ and the first ever collection of scholarly essays devoted to her (eds. Townshend and Wright) are major landmarks in reviving the reputation of Ann Radcliffe. The following collection of essays, published in 2015, is testament to the fact that the revival of critical interest in Ann Radcliffe will not be transient. A collection that covers both specific novels as well as themes within the work of Radcliffe, it makes a substantial and provocative contribution to the growing body of scholarship upon ‘the Great Enchantress.’

From the Editors’ Preface:

The idea for this collection of essays is to celebrate in a scholarly fashion the 250th anniversary of Ann Radcliffe’s birthday. ‘The Great Enchantress’ of the Gothic romance, as her contemporaries re-christened her, was then and has been ever since the publication of her work of fiction an author endowed with exceptional powers of enchantment over words, sounds and images. The contributors to this collection, Polish and French scholars who specialise in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, have found various ways to show not simply that the enduring cultural presence of the Enchantress is well-deserved, but also that it generously rewards renewed attempts by academics to unravel the mysteries of her unique talent.
The first French translations, or perhaps more appropriately adaptations, of Radcliffe’s romances appeared as early as the 1790s, and that they were thoroughly enjoyed among the Polish Francophiles and Anglophiles in the Pu?awy circle, the leading late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century cultural centre in the then partitioned Poland. We thus consider the Polish-French structure of this collection to be apt and as it were justified by history, given the substantial French contribution to Radcliffe’s presence in the Polish literary tradition. Following the Polish novelist Anna Mostowska, one of the first Radcliffe enthusiasts in Poland, we would like to entrust all the chapters that make up this collection to ‘the gloomy ghost of Anna de Radklif.’ We encourage the contributors and the readers to join us in this solemn rite.


1 Ann Radcliffe and the sister arts ideal
Jakub Lipski

2 ‘Such a scene as Salvator would have chosen’:
metapictorial naming in The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian
Alice Labourg

3 Between harmony and chaos:
poetry and Music in Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho
Joanna Kokot


4 Scattered syllables, or disseminated politics,
in Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho
Thomas Dutoit

5 Dangers of ‘the vacant mind’
in Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho
Agnieszka ?owczanin

6 From Baron Malcolm to Father Schedoni, or the development
of Mrs. Radcliffe’s black character and its diverse implications
Marek B?aszak


7 Minding the Gothic gaps: Ann Radcliffe’s handling of mystery
and suspense in the light of Roman Ingarden’s theory of indeterminacy
Jacek Mydla

8 Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho as an allegory of reading
Joanna Maciulewicz


9 Ann Radcliffe’s Journey Made in the Summer of 1794:
obliterated womanhood in a travelogue context
Magdalena O?arska

10 Ann Radcliffe’s sentimental Gothic and Polish Romantic literature
Dariusz Pniewski

11 William Beckford against Radcliffe and the likes of her
Wojciech Nowicki

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