Synopses & Reviews
Ann Radcliffes Romance of the Forest, first published in 1791, is the epitome of the Gothic novel: a beautiful, orphaned heiress, a dashing hero, a dissolute, aristocratic villain, and a ruined abbey deep in a great forest are combined by the author in a tale of suspense where danger lurks behind every secret trap-door. Reprinted four times between 1791 and 1795 and satirised as representative of the Gothic genre by Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey, Radcliffes tense masterpiece, in which the heroine is afraid even to look in the mirror for fear of what she might see behind her, established her reputation as a writer.
He approached, and perceived the Gothic remains of an abbey: it stood on a kind of rude lawn, overshadowed by high and spreading trees, which seemed coeval with the building, and diffused a romantic gloom around. The greater part of the pile appeared to be sinking into ruins, and that, which had withstood the ravages of time, shewed the remaining features of the fabric more awful in decay. The lofty battlements, thickly enwreathed with ivy, were half demolished, and become the residence of birds of prey. Huge fragments of the eastern tower, which was almost demolished, lay scattered amid the high grass, that waved slowly to the breeze.