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Gothic Literature

3. The Mysteries of Udolpho

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About this Lecture


In this module, Elly talks about Ann Radcliffe's 1794 novel, The Mysteries of Udolpho. Like the Castle of Otranto, it is set in a large, mysterious castle in Italy, and features dysfunctional family relationships. Whereas Walpole had embraced the supernatural, however, Radcliffe's novel is altogether more realistic - a trait which is picked up in later Gothic literature like Frankenstein, and Gothic-inspired literature like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.


For many, the genre of gothic horror is epitomised by the novels Frankenstein and Dracula. In this course, we explore the origins of the genre through lesser-known, but no less influential works, the Castle of Otranto (1764) and The Monk (1796): the former is generally regarded as the first gothic novel, and the latter (which was described by Samuel Taylor Coleridge as “the offspring of no common genius”) one of the most important gothic novels of its time - decades before Frankenstein, and over a century before Dracula.


Elly is a second-year DPhil student at the University of York. While her thesis is on the reception of Arthurian legend in children's literature, she is au fait with all Victorian literature. In her spare time, she writes a food blog called 'Nutmegs, seven'

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McCausland, E. (2018, August 15). Gothic Literature - The Mysteries of Udolpho [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McCausland, E. "Gothic Literature – The Mysteries of Udolpho." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,