Jacqueline Howard »

Jacqueline Howard is an independent scholar living in South Australia’s Adelaide Hills. She has written detailed studies of Lusignan and The Orphans of Llangloed with a view to facilitating their republication in annotated editions. Her current project is an examination of figurations of death, burial, and afterlife in eighteenth-century elegiac poetry. Publications include an edition of Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho (Penguin Classics, 2001) and Reading Gothic Fiction: A Bakhtinian Approach (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994).

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This article is copyright © 2011 Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, and is the result of the independent labour of the scholar or scholars credited with authorship. The material contained in this document may be freely distributed, as long as the origin of information used has been properly credited in the appropriate manner (e.g. through bibliographic citation, etc.). The matter contained within this article provides bibliographical information based on independent personal research by the contributor, and as such has not been subject to the peer-review process.

Referring to this Article

J. HOWARD. ‘Merely an Imitator? The Preponderance of “Radcliffe” in Lusignan, or the Abbaye of La Trappe and The Orphans of Llangloed’, Romantic Textualities: Literature and Print Culture, 1780–1840, 20 (Winter 2011).

Online: Internet (date accessed): https://www.romtext.org.uk/reports/rt20_n03/

Merely an Imitator?

The Preponderance of ‘Radcliffe’ in Lusignan, or the Abbaye of La Trappe and The Orphans of Llangloed

In this report, I want to float what I consider to be a distinct possibility: that Ann Radcliffe did not cease publication after The Italian (1797), but published two anonymous novels for the circulating library at the turn of the nineteenth century.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndent Despite their fall into oblivion, Lusignan, or the Abbaye of La Trappe (June 1801) and The Orphans of Llangloed (September 1802) are more than mildly interesting gothic novels in the Radcliffean mode. [1] Produced in troubled times by the same anonymous author, and written with professional assurance and careful attention to propriety, they merit some scholarly attention. On the one hand, they can be said to exemplify the immoderately long, complicated plots with which the Minerva Press was said to ‘teem’ and groan’, with their heroes and heroines beset by seemingly endless difficulties, absurdly far-fetched co­incidences, and ironic twists of fate. On the other, they are densely literary texts that repay close readings, and not only for their obvious appropriations and re-workings of eighteenth-century French sentimental literature, Shakespeare, and English poetry and novels. In so many respects, the similarly literary works of Ann Radcliffe stand clearly behind them as intertexts.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentHerein lies a conundrum, and the possibility of a larger claim. For this reader, the affinities of Lusignan and The Orphans of Llangloed with ‘Radcliffe’ have been so close that on occasion it has been easy to slip into reading and interpreting the novels as if they were her own work. Particularly in regard to Lusignan, despite the obvious debts to de Tencin and d’Arnaud, it is as if Radcliffe is returning to her own storylines, themes, and ideas, and spinning them more freely, boldly, and experimentally along paths not taken. In both novels, the likeness is apparent in the slant of the author’s reading, method, style, didactic purpose, and strong aesthetic, psychological, religious, and juridical interests.


Let me indicate the propulsion of my reading by focusing initially on just one facet of the novels’ familiar ‘voice’: the pictorial descriptions of scenery. These include:

  • full settings, too long to quote here, such as those of Montalte Abbey (Lusignan, I, 159–61) and Llangloed Castle (Llangloed, I, 4–7), with their variously beautiful, sublime, and picturesque vistas;
  • scenes permeated by an optimistic religious aesthetic;
  • scenes that trigger yearnings, and poetic or story-making fancy;
  • scenes (often solemn, or threatening) said to be ‘in unison’ or ‘in correspondence’ with a main character’s feelings.

To cite an instance of the second type from Lusignan, just as for Emily in The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and Ellena in The Italian (1797), so, on occasion, Emily de Montalte’s contemplation of the landscape elevates her to rapturous delight in God’s creation, and renders current anxieties less pressing:

There is something reviving in the breath of early morn,—something in animated nature that imperceptibly glides to our heart, and raises our drooping spirits. Emily acknowledged their effects; she felt her despondency wear off as she gazed with delight on scenes which, though familiar to her view, never wearied, but each day seemed new; the lark and linnet, with their gentle notes, seemed thanking the Creator for the comforts they enjoyed.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndent‘These, Almighty God!’ she secretly said, ‘are the works of thy hand! All these blessings thou hast made for man; and shall he, ungrateful, murmur if, amid so many sweets,—if, amid the many roses that adorn his path, a thorn is sometimes planted?’ (Lusignan, II, 56–57) [2]

Again, bearing in mind Radcliffe’s own affirmations of divine presence, and other devotional statements, alongside her lovingly described seascapes with their little white sails, and the ‘he-hoes’ of the sailors, in her records of her tours to the southern coast of England in September 1797, September 1798, and July 1800, consider the following chapter opening from Lusignan:

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndent‘These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentAlmighty, thine is the universal frame,
IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentThus wondrous fair; thyself how wondrous then!’ [3]

The sun now dawned in the eastern horizon, gilding the proud summits of the distant Pyrenees; and extending its rays to the smooth ocean, scarcely a breeze agitated its translucent waves. Vessels scattered in every direction gently glided on the calm surface of the sea; all was still save when the mariner’s song reached the shore, hailing the return of morn; it was a scene no pencil could delineate. Lusignan silently contemplated and admired it, his own perturbed mind was soothed by the prospect. (I, 61–62) [4]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentAn instance of the third type occurs at the time of Lusignan’s first confinement by his father at Luneville Castle on the coast of Normandy, when the aesthetic idealism he harbours is again evident, but this time in his yearnings for the simple pastoral life. As he surveys ‘the Albion coast’ from the parapet wall, the prospect affords views of ‘the vessels majestically sailing from its numerous ports’, stirring his imagination:

Lusignan envied the perils they must encounter ere they returned; he melted at the happiness they would enjoy when, after long roving on foreign shores and seas unknown, tossed by rude winds and faithless billows, their dear native isle should rise to greet their longing eyes. He sighed for England’s chalky cliffs, and would willingly have resigned all his prospects of gilded slavery to share with Emily liberty and a cottage in that happy land. (I, 116)

His vision here again echoes Radcliffe’s delight in the southern seacoasts with their chalky cliffs, and vistas across the Channel, as expressed not only in her journal entries, but also in several poems. Indeed, it is remarkably similar to that of her poem, ‘Written in the Isle of Wight’, possibly composed during her first visit there in 1798:

Oh! for a cottage on the shady brow
Of this green Island, where the Channel flows
With less tumultuous wave, and sends abroad
The many sails of England to the world,
And beareth to his home the mariner
Who shouts to view the light blue hills, that dawn


Oh! for a cottage on the breezy cliff,
That points the crescent of thy harbour, Cowes!
And bears the raptured glance o’er seas and shores—
A boundless prospect […] [5]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentAn example of the fourth type from The Orphans of Llangloed, of local scenery ‘in unison’ with a character’s feelings to heighten effect, occurs in an early expository letter by Mrs Middleton when she recounts how, fifteen years previously, she had set out to fetch the local pastor to attend the tragically wronged and dying Lady Glendower:

The distance to the parsonage was only a quarter of a mile: I preferred walking to waiting for the carriage. Evening approached, the weather was calm, and the air heavy, spreading twilight, imparted a gloom to my aching heart. Methought the little village of Glenfield was unusually still; the sporting throng no longer gambolled in the streets as when before I passed it; the doors of the cottages were closed. A tinkling bell from the church was the only sound that disturbed the solemn tranquillity of the evening. Had my soul been less attuned to sorrow, I should have fancied something prophetic in the scene. (I, 48) [6]

Apart from examples of this last type in her romances, Radcliffe’s comments on Shakespeare’s use of ‘correspondent scenery’ or ‘accordant’ circumstances in her ‘Essay on the Supernatural in Poetry’, written in 1802–03, are obviously relevant to such scenic description. [7] Moreover, as I shall discuss later, her explication and defence in the ‘Essay’ of Shakespeare’s evocation of the supernatural are also apposite to the anonymous author’s use of both the frank and ‘explained’ supernatural. In short, at many points, Radcliffe’s œuvre, including the travel journals, poems, and other writing published posthumously in 1826, as well as our knowledge of her person, reading, interests, and history, provide a remarkably smooth handle on these novels.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIt is in the light of this concern about provenance that my purpose here is to introduce these rare fictions, outlining first in general, and then more specifically under a few headings, some aspects of the characteristic manner in which I perceive them to be rendered.


In the case of Lusignan, this includes its early-seventeenth-century French setting, and the method of its third-person omniscient narration, with its dramatised character delineation and dialogue, building of suspense, continuous descriptions of emotion, gothic pastoral ideal, penchant for Shakespeare, use of the supernatural, sudden shifts into satire, and use of chapter epigraphs (all unacknowledged). The novel’s intense psychological interests extend beyond Udolpho’s depictions of the amnesiac and trance-like states of Emily St Aubert, and the manic depression of the criminal Laurentini/Sister Agnes, to a full episode on the heroine Emily de Montalte’s mental breakdown and near-death experience, from which the hope born of her Christian faith, and restful sleep following her worthy receipt of the last sacrament, effect a ‘miraculous’ recovery (III, 11–26, 31–32). While the delirious moments of the deathbed confession of Lusignan’s clerical villain bear close comparison with those of Udolpho’s dying Sister Agnes, the descent of Lusignan’s passionate love into mania has other literary antecedents. [8] But the novel’s didactic and religious underpinnings—the emphasis on the heroine’s spiritual journey and dilemmas of ‘duty’, the mysterious workings of Providence, and the certainty of retribution and divine justice for evildoers—bear the hallmark of Radcliffe’s romances. Even Lusignan’s incoherencies, particularly in relation to the machinations of the crafty Abbé La Haye, seem not simply consequences of a lack of editing, but outcomes of typically Radcliffean strategies for maintaining suspense and striving for sublimity. [9]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentThe main plot of Lusignan is based on Madame de Tencin’s short novel of 1735, Mémoires du comte de Comminge, and, in its final chapter, on Baculard d’Arnaud’s first drame sombre of 1764, Les Amans malheureux, ou Le Comte de Comminge. [10] However, if inspired by de Tencin’s Comminge, Lusignan also departs markedly from it, not only in inventiveness and style of narration, but also in establishing an ambience of the supernatural not found in that work, and in having a secondary, ‘sleeping’ plot,as well as a number of intercalated and intersecting stories. [11] One of these remarkably satirises Romance conventions (I, 153–58; II, 132–42; III, 161–63), and is a reworking, writ large, of the predilection of Udolpho’s convent-educated Blanche de Villeroi to frame her perceptions with notions from the old romances she has read. [12] Classified by Frederick Frank as ‘high’ or ‘pure’ gothic, Lusignan’s narration was praised effusively by Montague Summers, who was also impressed by the author’s treatment of things Catholic. [13] While the novel does show evidence of research, its author shares the approach of Radcliffe in her romances and travel writing, of condemning instances of Catholic bigotry and cruelty, and treating convent life much more ambivalently than Summers’ comments would suggest. [14]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentUnlike Comminge, Lusignan has a broad canvas, involving some sixteen or more characters in a great number of episodes that occur in several different locations throughout France over at least four years. The Abbey of La Trappe itself, ‘on the confines of Perche in Normandy’, provides the setting for only the antepenultimate and final chapters. [15] On the novel’s title page, an unacknowledged epigraph from Henry Fielding’s play The Wedding Day (1743) suggests the passionate extremity of its overarching theme: the enduring and ennobling joys of friendship in contrast to the pain and suffering of romantic love. [16] In the event, as a story of love’s woe wrought by a combination of enmity, Providence and impetuosity, Lusignan outdoes Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, on which it also draws. The third and fourth volumes, with their close tracking of the shifting, intense, and often conflictive states of mind of the protagonists, together with the delayed and gloomy monastic ending, make considerable demands on the reader. Given this, and its French title, it is perhaps not surprising that Lusignan appears to have received no critical attention in its day, unlike its lighter successor, which calls itself ‘a modern tale’, and purports

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentTo shew
The very age and body of the times,
Its form and pressure. [17]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentThe Orphans of Llangloed, too, bears Radcliffe’s stamp of mystery, suspense, and literary quotation, while leavening her romance mix with a ‘Welch’ heroine, contemporaneous British setting, and a number of humorous episodes in the first two of its three volumes. Like Lusignan, it has both a main and secondary plot that turn on familial barriers to love and marriage, the pursuit of young women by villainous men, the restoration of a supposedly dead parent, the joys of female friendship, the evils of calumny, and the gothic pastoral ideal. Written as a series of seventy-two letters penned by seventeen characters from contemporary Wales, London, West Cliff, and Lisbon, it contains many implausibly verbatim accounts of dialogue. But its polyphonic structure is used to good effect in the juxtaposition of viewpoints and episodes, and the worlds of male and female correspondents, as well as in the creation of suspense, social comedy, and satiric commentary. Occasionally, there is a Chinese-box effect produced by the incorporation of someone else’s letter, and, in the third volume, by two long tales as they have been narrated to the letter writers. Despite this, and the apparent discontinuities caused by frequent changes in writer and addressee, the two romance plot lines move reasonably quickly, their intersecting threads being deftly woven. In the final volume, the Radcliffean hand of Providence is again evident in the emergence of truth about past events, the last-minute delivery of the heroine’s father from the gallows at Tyburn, the restoration of her sanity and health, the re-establishment of love relationships, and the rightful recovery of female property. The repentance of three of the characters for the disasters they have wrought also contributes to the conventionally happy ending. With its ‘pleasing’ events, ‘sprightly style’, ‘easy language’, and extensive vocal range, the novel impressed its one reviewer as a ‘not unwelcome present to the circulating library’. [18]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentThe story starts on a pastoral note, in a homely castle in Wales, the seat of the ill-fated Lord and Lady Glendower, whose orphaned daughter Juliana and niece Louisa Morgan have been raised and educated by Mrs Middleton. Its primary mystery gathers when Juliana, who prays each day in her mother’s reverentially maintained apartment, is visited by a benevolent stranger professing to be her guardian angel. More typically gothic episodes occur following Louisa’s journey with her ailing father to Lisbon, where she falls victim to the schemes of Jefferson, the son of Lady de Ligne’s corrupt lawyer, and takes refuge in a local convent. But the novel’s modern villains are English and Irish, with the degeneracy of London manners and morals the author’s main focus. We have it from Talfourd that Radcliffe ‘felt […] a distaste to the increasing familiarity of modern manners’. [19] The various characters’ articulation of the culture of ‘Welch retirement’, and its contrast with life in fashionable London, brings a freshness and satiric humour to the novel.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentOverall, the humorous parts of The Orphans of Llangloed take up the creative possibilities of Radcliffe’s comic characterisation and episodic satire. The ease with which Juliana’s abductor, the Irish fortune-hunter O’Shallaghan, is given his brogue and bulls, may be thought uncharacteristic of Radcliffe. [20] The Anti-Jacobin Review, after all, criticised her portrayal of Paulo, in The Italian, as ‘sometimes, too much a philosopher’, adding that his speech ‘is not the language of a menial servant’. [21] However, Talfourd’s comments are again pertinent here: that she had ‘a quick ear’, ‘was fond of listening to any good verbal sounds’, and ‘if her scrupulous sense of propriety had not restrained her comic powers, Mrs. Radcliffe would probably have displayed considerable talent for the humorous’. [22] Had Radcliffe exiled herself once more to anonymity, I think it not improbable that she could have felt free to give rein to this talent.

III. Lusignan, or the Abbaye of La Trappe

Literary Borrowings, Themes, Setting

Lusignan’s final chapter announces in an untranslated epigraph its close dependence on d’Arnaud’s emotional and declamatory play for the resolution of Meronville’s obsessive love for and loss of his Emily. The play’s imagery is appropriated throughout as Meronville struggles ‘to extinguish that flame which destroys [his Creator’s] image in [his] subject soul’ (IV, 196). [23] However, while adapting the play’s two supernatural episodes, the author abjures d’Arnaud’s morbidly sensational, subterranean mausoleum. [24] La Trappe is depicted more nearly after de Tencin, as ‘an abode of modest devotion’ and ‘majestic austerity’, with a solemn chapel containing a lamp, crucifix, images of saints, and a consecrated shrine (IV, 135–38). Nor is its Rule grimly sensationalised. Instead, the tone is consistent with Radcliffe’s respectfully factual comments in her Journey Made in the Summer of 1794 about the austerities of Bernardine Rule imposed at Furness Abbey, which ‘partook in several instances of those of La Trapp [sic]’. [25] That d’Arnaud’s dramatic focus on the anguished conflict between religious vows and undying worldly love actually appealed to Radcliffe is evinced by her digressive use of it in A Sicilian Romance (1790), in the story of the dying nun Cornelia, who dies in ‘a fine devotional glow’ and ‘meek resignation’, having given her lover one last look of ‘ineffable tenderness and grief’. [26] Whereas Radcliffe has the sounds of Cornelia’s attempt to speak to Antonio die on her ‘closing lips’, Lusignan’s Emily/Brother Ambrose is given a passionate departing speech to Meronville that brings together the novel’s recurring motifs of ‘remembrance’, ‘hearts vibrating in unison’ [27] , and the certainty of a spiritual afterlife (IV, 239). [28]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentOther Radcliffean themes, such as the workings of divine justice and the effects of melancholy, are also announced or commented on by chapter epigraphs, some of which are from other dramatic works. There are two from Shakespeare’s Othello and one from Hamlet, one from Edward Young’s tragedy The Revenge, and one from Sir Richard Fanshawe’s translation of Giovanni Battista Guarini’s pastoral drama Il Pastor Fido. However, the majority have poetic sources: Gray’s ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ and ‘Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College’, Milton’s Paradise Lost (twice), Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered (three times), Mary Robinson’s ‘Lines to Him Who Will Understand Them’, ‘Ode to Adversity’, and ‘Ode to Beauty’, John Armstrong’s The Art of Preserving Health (twice), Young’s ‘Love of Fame’, Samuel Rogers’ ‘To a Friend on His Marriage’ and The Pleasures of Memory (three times), Robert Merry’s The Pains of Memory (twice), Pope’s ‘Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady’ and ‘Eloisa to Abelard’, Leonard Walstead’s ‘The Invitation’, George Dyer’s ‘Ode to the River Cam’, and Hannah More’s Sensibility (twice).

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentThose familiar with Radcliffe’s work will recognise this line-up, although as one would expect, there are also a few new names. Of these, Merry’s Pains of Memory (1796) and the poems by Mary Robinson join Samuel Rogers’ The Pleasures of Memory (quoted memorably in Udolpho) as sources for the author’s frequent comments on the strong impressions and emotions wrought by adversity and the persistence of memory (II, 77; III, 63, 102, 157, 192–93; IV, 170, 239). [29] Given the anonymous author’s strong focus on yet another of Radcliffe’s preoccupations in Udolpho—neurasthenic states and madness—John Armstrong’s Art of Preserving Health (1744) also stands out for its precepts concerning the importance of company, practical intelligence, and ‘dignity of mind’ to maintaining mental stability and good health (II, 55; III, 31). [30]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentAgain, as in Radcliffe’s novels, the epigraphs from Shakespeare (II, 125, 143, 181) are reserved for those chapters that depict rapidly gathering crises and great distress for the protagonists. [31] The epigraph from Hamlet, Hamlet’s question to his father’s ghost, foreshadows Emily’s three encounters at Luneville Castle with a spectre whom she recognises as her father. [32] On the third occasion, his purpose is made clear:

‘I am the ghost of thy departed father, suffered to revisit these mortal abodes, to warn my child of the evils she is destined to undergo. This moment is fatal to you,—this moment witnesses the triumph of successful villany; yet fear not; be virtuous, and never despair; your trials will be hard, but the end of them is glorious!’ (III, 5–6)

Given also the building of atmosphere with ‘attendant incidents of time and place’, and the borrowings from Hamlet in the ghost’s dialogue with Emily, these episodes aspire to the criteria for use of the supernatural set out by Willoughton in Radcliffe’s ‘Essay’. [33] The religious views expressed by virtuous characters in her romances suggest that Radcliffe had long entertained his particular stance regarding the existence of disembodied spirits. [34] Having been praised in 1798 by Nathan Drake as ‘the Shakespeare of Romance Writers’ following her publication of The Italian, arguably Radcliffe was prompted to depart from her practice of excluding real ghosts as agents, and instead to emulate Shakespeare. [35] The anonymous author of Lusignan does just that, as does Radcliffe in her posthumously published Gaston de Blondeville (1826).

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentFurther echoes of Hamlet occur in the depiction of the Duke’s public pangs of guilt (II, 187–88), [36] the episode of Emily’s Ophelia-like derangement and wanderings (III, 19–20), and La Haye’s deathbed confession of his murder of the sleeping Duke by pouring poison in his ear (IV, 145). The author’s Shakespearean/Radcliffean proclivities are also evident in the allusions to Romeo and Juliet (I, 21, 26), and the deliberate juxtaposition of terror with light relief (I, 140–42; II, 160–67). [37]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentLusignan resembles The Italian in its very direct representation of unrestrained passions, the narrative alternating in a similar systematic way between the thoughts and actions of its more various characters. [38] The collusion between the evil Abbé La Haye and Lusignan’s vindictive father, the Duke of Meronville, to regain lost feudal estates and prevent Lusignan from marrying Emily de Montalte also reworks the conspiracy in The Italian, between Vivaldi’s mother, the proud and bigoted Marquesa, and her confessor, the evil monk Schedoni. The temporal and geographical settings vary, but both novels depict ‘an age when even reciprocal attachment was ever sacrificed and made subservient to aggrandizement and the sordid considerations of wealth’ (Lusignan, II, 184).

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentHowever, the idea of a family feud as the circumstance that prevents the second cousins, Lusignan and Emily, from marrying, has been adapted from de Tencin’s Comminge with considerable thematic invention (I, 1–16). [39] Thus, one of Lusignan’s most persistent themes—the hollowness of wealth, privilege, and aggrandisement—is heralded by the opening chapter’s epigraph from Gray’s ‘Elegy’, [40] and developed in a quasi-historical account of France’s late-sixteenth-century politico-religious conflict between enlightened Huguenots, such as Coligni [sic], and Catholic leaders ‘who sacrificed every thing to a mistaken zeal for religion, and with an excess of barbarity, […] immolated each day innumerable victims at the shrine of ambition and bigotry’ (I, 3). [41] It was this upheaval that split the ‘most ancient’ and ‘illustrious’ house of Meronville, and it is these historical allusions that place the novel firmly in the French temporal setting favoured by Radcliffe, ‘the Gothic cusp’. [42]

Dramatic Characterisation and the Raising of Suspense

The past Huguenot affiliation of some of Emily’s family members remains important in the novel, as it enables the villainous Abbé La Haye (a character not in de Tencin’s Comminge), to adopt a spuriously doctrinaire Catholicism. Affecting piety, he counsels Lusignan’s father against the ‘apostacy’ of ‘polluting Christian blood by a mixture with that of heresy’, whenever the latter leans towards conscience, and entertains the possibility of the union of the lovers (II, 10–11, 131–32).

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentLa Haye’s early corruption of the Duke of Meronville is attributed largely to the latter’s own naturally suspicious and gloomy disposition. While the corresponding character in de Tencin is described simply, as ‘ever haughty and malicious’, Frederick is given a malevolence rivalling that of Radcliffe’s Montoni:

A character of violence and impetuosity, was seldom so strongly marked as in this young man, even at the age of fifteen, and as time increased its development, it became gloomy and severe. Prone to the wildest excesses, he already hated the world, and never seemed happy but when he could contribute to destroy the happiness of others […]. (I, 10) [43]

Having secretly fathered two illegitimate sons for whom he has his own dark ambitions of advancement, La Haye uses intrigue, opportunistic lies, theft, and forged signatures and letters to gain his desired ends, all the while playing on his patron’s desires and emotions. Ironically capturing the author’s own technique, which is that of Radcliffe, the narrator comments, ‘La Haye knew the effect of suspense; he tried it, till his patron was wrought to the highest pitch of impatience and curiosity’ (II, 12). The author relates the main story only a part at a time, often holding something back, [44] particularly in relation to the dissembling La Haye, the physical description of whom also seems to have been deliberately eschewed. [45]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIn contrast with La Haye and his tyrannically feudal father, Lusignan’s enlightened attitudes are apparent from very early in the novel when he gains the Duke’s permission to spend the winter season at Montpelier [sic]. [46] After the style of Radcliffe, the author has Lusignan’s joy in his newly found freedom find correspondence in the mood of the landscape, his capacity for such aesthetic engagement being a marker of his sensibility:

All Nature smiled, the fertility of the country through which he passed, and the beautiful landscapes which every where met his eye, elevated his thoughts to rapture; he almost fancied that some magic power had formed the scene for his enjoyment, that magic power was liberty; and Lusignan now felt persuaded that life was an enamelled path, and sorrow a mere chimera, a phantom of his father’s clouded imagination. (I, 19)

Less worldly than de Tencin’s Comminge, Lusignan is endowed with the frankness, ardour, and generosity of a Valancourt, and the impetuosity of a Romeo. [47] However, just as in The Italian Vivaldi’s susceptibility to superstition makes him vulnerable to Schedoni, so Lusignan’s flaw of ‘native impetuosity’ frequently causes him to act in ways that bring displeasure to his father, and enable La Haye’s perfidious designs. Despite his shock on learning that Emily de Montalte is the daughter of his own recently deceased uncle, the Comte de Clarival, and his dread of his father’s violent anger, Lusignan still ‘firmly resolves at that early period to sacrifice everything to love’ (I, 27–28). Unaware of La Haye’s scheming knowledge of his movements, his rashness of thought and action is established as a trigger for misfortune, and the reader’s apprehension of it, throughout the novel. For example, to retrieve Emily’s stolen bracelet to which a miniature of her likeness is attached, he wounds the Chevalier St Amand, one of La Haye’s secret sons. [48] Less respectful than Vivaldi, Lusignan is also at one point so angered by the cleric’s imputations against his gentle and wise mother that he takes him by the shoulders, and ‘shove[s] him rudely out of the apartment’. [49] Here, as an aside, the narrator comments that ‘a little self-command would have been more serviceable to Lusignan’, and later conveys La Haye’s deep resentment and intention ‘to overwhelm his victims with despair’ (I, 125, 129).

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentParallels with Radcliffe’s romances are again insistent in the depiction of Emily de Montalte. Her Eve-like perfection signalled in an epigraph from Milton, Emily has been ‘nurtured in the bosom of virtue’ which has ‘strengthened her mind, and rendered it capable of exertion’ (I, 76). Once Lusignan is confined at Luneville, she is at first ‘inconsolable for his loss’. To ‘her preoccupied mind’, scenes that were ‘truly elysian’ when Lusignan ‘pointed out those features formed to charm the eye and fix the traveller’s attention’, are now ‘robbed of attraction’ (I, 73–74). In a letter to him, she affirms her love, but does not share the hopes he has communicated, and remonstrates with him about his deceit in initially concealing his real name. Most importantly for the development of the novel’s plot and themes, Emily, who when alone cannot ‘subjugate a keen sensibility, too often fatal to female happiness’, [50] yet avows her ‘unalterable resolve to sacrifice inclination to duty, whenever called to do so’ (I, 75–76). The author has her espouse, like Radcliffe’s Adeline, Emily, and Ellena, a Kantian notion of moral worth, which accrues by acting from obligation rather than desire. [51] In the belief that virtue is a moral strength of will, Emily urges Lusignan to imitate her example, and not abandon his filial duty. Her unwavering sense of her own rectitude is used not only to drive the plot, [52] but also to explore in greater depth the psychological ramifications of the conflict between inclination and filial duty on which the love and happiness of Emily and Lusignan frequently flounder.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentThe tension produced by this strong contrast in the warmth of feeling of the lovers is heightened by the close friendship Emily develops at Montpelier with the ailing and orphaned Caroline de Montfort. While the imprisoned Lusignan thinks for months on Emily alone, Emily’s youthful friendship ‘of unrestrained communication’ with her ‘beloved Caroline’ occupies ‘her undivided attention’, and her cheerfulness largely returns (I, 78, 110; II, 1). When it is uncertain whether Caroline’s own long lost lover, Dorville, has returned from Africa only to be drowned in a shipwreck in the Race of Alderney, Emily’s early morning solicitude conveys the degree of intimacy to which their friendship has progressed. In a scene that carries an erotic charge reminiscent of Adeline’s first vision of Clara La Luc in Radcliffe’s The Romance of the Forest (1791), Emily steals to the bedside of the sleeping Caroline, ‘gaze[s] on her with delight’, and ‘imprint[s] a soft kiss on her vermilion lips’ (I, 198). [53] Also typical of Radcliffe’s plot mechanisms is Emily and Caroline’s ‘gentle melody’, produced by voice and lyre, which draws Dorville to Montalte Abbey (II, 24). [54] Even after Caroline and Dorville have been joyfully reunited, the friendship of the women remains uppermost, and Emily contrives to visit Paris so that, on the occasion of Caroline’s birthday, she can wake her friend with a sealed paper, the gift ‘in trust’ of her small family estate in the Valais, in Switzerland: ‘The spot where your Emily drew breath; the scene of my infant joys, my earliest and best delights; not a tree or shrub but is endeared by some sweet remembrance.’ (II, 92) This ‘spot’ is also more than coincidentally striking in its phonetic and semantic similarity to Udolpho’s ‘La Vallée’. [55]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentApart from Emily’s benevolence to Caroline, two other young women at St Clair, and the tenants on her estates (II, 78–79, 89–91), there are many other re-workings of character attributes and motifs from Radcliffe’s novels for which space permits only the briefest mention. There is Emily’s ‘sweetness’ and ‘artless cheerfulness’ that visibly move the Duke, subduing ‘his rigid spirit’ so that ‘his aspect’ becomes for a time ‘more humanized’ (II, 126, 172). [56] Her prenuptial night prescience is such that ‘[her] heart refuses its consent to the fairy vision’ (III, 2), thus reflexively negating the idyllic situation with which Radcliffe brings The Italian to a close. [57] The narration of the death of Emily’s mother (III, 64–75) follows a similar pattern to the death of St Aubert in Udolpho, and in both novels Emily subsequently chooses to retire for a time to the Convent of St Clair. In contrast, later descriptions of Emily’s ‘melancholy solitude’, as the wife of the odious Bentivoglio at St Jago Castle, are associated with an island, the sea, woods, and reading—preoccupations of Radcliffe’s journals of 1798–1800. [58]

IV. The Orphans of Llangloed

Epistolary Structure, Welsh Setting and Gothic Ancestry

Although the novel’s most prolific correspondent is its heroine, Lady Juliana Glendower,it is Mrs Middleton’s letters that launch the novel, and have the functional tenor of the narration of Radcliffe’s romances. [59] Reminiscent of Madame de Menon from A Sicilian Romance, Mrs Middleton has had a long association with the heroine’s family, including a close friendship with Juliana’s deceased mother, and has raised her two charges with maternal care, giving them a fine education in English, French, and Italian literature, drawing and music. [60] Apart from providing the long family history that constitutes the novel’s exposition, she remains an important influence and recipient of news throughout the novel. When Juliana and Louisa leave the ancestral castle at Llangloed for the ‘smoke and confusion’ of London, and experience its vulgarities, dangers, and injustices, Harriet Middleton, as their trusted mentor, is their constant sounding-board. Once the deranged Juliana ‘is no longer in a state to become her own historian’, Mrs Middleton provides the denouement, attributing the ‘miracles’ of Lord Glendower’s preservation and Juliana’s eventual recovery to ‘the hand of Heaven’ (III, 126, 213–14). Ever an authoritative voice, with her refined sensibility and descriptions of ‘attendant circumstances’, Mrs Middleton sets up the novel’s prevailing moral and aesthetic values, along with its romantic fatalism. She is also the most self-conscious of the letter-writers in terms of anticipating or shaping the effect of her words on her reader (I, 31, 51). In this way the distribution of her letters functions as a frame, and her endowment with the leitmotive of elegy, reflection, and didacticism characteristic of Lusignan’s narrator marks her as a mouthpiece for the author (I, 53–56, 91).

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentThe novel begins with four long letters ‘in continuance’ from Llangloed by Mrs Middleton to her long-absent friend, Mrs Urwin, who remains throughout the novel her entirely passive, trustworthy addressee, ‘the depository of her most secret thoughts’ (I, 135). Thus addressed to the novel’s reader as much as their named recipient, these letters form a compositional unit that Mrs Middleton refers to as ‘my melancholy tale’ (I, 51). They inscribe the foundational elements of a modern gothic romance by carrying first a description of its initial, idyllic Welsh setting, Llangloed, and then the exposition of the tragic events that, by ‘a strange fatality’, had occurred there fifteen years previously. [61]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentMrs Middleton attributes the demise of Juliana’s parents to the combination of treachery perpetrated by Lord Glendower’s political enemies in London and his own uncontrollable anger and jealousy, though such passions had not been typical of him. Despite Glendower’s inordinate pride in his ‘long pedigree, which required a Welch head to unravel’, his ill-judged ‘crime’, and remarkable, secret interventions in the life of his daughter, he is not a rogue member of his ancient family. Mrs Middleton remains uninformed of his fraudulent appearances to Juliana, but she makes clear from the start that his largely indiscriminate adherence to an ancestral moral code had driven his actions. The timeless occupations of the Glendowers, their lack of aggrandisement, and ‘purity of manners and morals’ are held up as exemplary for the present (I, 7, 10, 13). Yet, aspects of Lord Glendower’s ‘gothic’ attitudes and values are revealed as problematic, in particular his preference for total seclusion from a society he held in contempt. His lack of social interaction had predisposed him to ignorance and distrust. He had too hastily and quite wrongly believed himself the victim of infidelity, and his adherence to the ancestral code of honour had required him to seek revenge by duel to the death (I, 37). [62]

Epistolary ‘Voices’, Literary Borrowings, Satiric Humour, and Social Critique

Despite marked differences in the tenor of the letters according to the writer’s sex, the nature of the addressee relationship, subject matter, and degree of language formality, one remarkably common aspect of the letter writers’ styles is a penchant for illustrative quotation, again reflecting the practice of Radcliffe in her romances and journals. Of some twenty-eight quotations, twelve are from dramatic works: George Villier’s The Rehearsal, Voltaire’s Zaïre, Nicholas Rowe’s Jane Shore, and Shakespeare’s The Tempest, King Lear, Macbeth (five times), Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet. Poems quoted include Gray’s ‘Elegy’ (three times), Pope’s ‘Eloisa to Abelard’, Merry’s The Pains of Memory, More’s Sensibility, Goldsmith’s The Traveller, and Thomson’s The Seasons. [63] Sometimes the quotation consists of a phrase woven into the text, or a line or two used as an aphorism, [64] but many are several lines long, most often used to amplify, or add authority to, a thought, precept, or feeling. Only in a few cases does there seem a successful exploitation of the poetry for the plot. [65]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentThe author’s satiric targets are affectation, false pride, hypocrisy, vulgarity, and meanness of spirit, irrespective of whether the perpetrators are aristocratic or from the lower ranks of society. Several characters are drawn along exaggerated lines, and the author’s use of aptronyms for Mr Figgens, a wholesale grocer who is given to showy dressing, and Mr and Mrs Fustian, drapers with parvenu pretensions, also introduces an element of caricature. A number of letters by Juliana provide the extended satiric appraisal of the speech and manners of Lady de Ligne, her elder daughter Miss Isabella Munt, and some members of their upper-class circle, whereas one long letter by Louisa describes the ‘mortifications’ she has suffered on account of the brash and tasteless behaviour of her newly found family and acquaintances in the London shopkeeping trade.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentAt Llangloed, Lady de Ligne and her daughter rudely assert their perceptions of the castle as a ‘wretched, dull-looking place’, and its inhabitants as ‘every wit as Gothic’, or antiquated and unfashionable harp-playing ‘rustics’ (I, 117–18, 121). A playfully ironic, reflexive touch occurs when the affectedly bored Miss Munt, who refuses to be shown around the castle because she has ‘no taste for antiquities’, simultaneously claims that she ‘[cannot] endure reading, unless it [is] some of Mrs. Radcliffe’s romances’ which are ‘too modern’ to have ‘found entrance’ there (I, 118–19). [66] The author’s mischievous pleasure in making ironic use of literary allusions is also evident in Miss Munt’s theatrical response to Juliana’s observation that she had ‘perhaps some work in hand’:

This put her quite in a pet. She pulled off her glove, and displaying a very white arm, covered with bracelets, she exclaimed, inspired I suppose at that moment by the Muses—

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndent‘Are these fingers, at whose touch even age would glow—
IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndent‘Are they of use for nothing but to sew?’

and then burst into a loud laugh, either at my folly or her own cleverness (I, 119–20). [67]

Miss Munt may laugh at her own wit in reciting from Lyttelton’s poem, but, in aligning herself with its soliloquising female, she unconsciously exposes her own overweening vanity in suggesting that she is a youthful beauty whose charms are wasted in the country, whereas in Town where she can be seen, all pay their homage, with every eye fixed on her alone. Indeed, we learn later that Isabella, at thirty-four, is herself deemed an ‘antique’ by her occasional flirt, the raffish Colonel Singleton (I, 202). The satire is extended when Juliana reproduces verbatim for Mrs Middleton the malicious wit of Miss Le Whoop who, in revealing Isabella’s real status in London, also lets slip the true reason for her friend’s wearing of different coloured wigs (I, 122–23; II, 2).

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIn London, on their visiting days, Isabella and her mother are blatantly hypocritical in their attitude to their ‘friends’. Juliana cites the example of Lady Melmont, whose choice to stay at home ‘to teach [her] children ABC’ they deem to be inconsiderate and ‘tiresome’. Although Lady Melmont receives them with ‘the most graceful, easy manner’, and they themselves give her ‘every demonstration of friendship’, as soon as they have left they complain about her ‘insipidity’ and devotion to her children’s education. When Juliana had ‘foolishly’ spoken in her favour, Miss Munt had retorted, ‘Like yourself: she blushes and looks silly every time she is spoken to’ (I, 188). Like Madame Cheron in her continual disparagement of Emily in Udolpho, Lady de Ligne and Miss Munt pour contempt on the appearance, refined sensibility, morality, and education of Juliana and Louisa. [68] But with every insult, they expose their own arrogance, vanity, and spiteful vacuity. [69]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIn contrast to his mother and stepsister, the urbane Charles de Ligne is good-humoured and compassionate, and has an easy, thoughtful, and generous manner. His delight in the ‘rustic life’ at Llangloed, and the natural beauty, manners, and accomplishments of Juliana and Louisa, is such that he doubts he shall be ‘ever fit for polished society again’. As he writes to his amiable sister, Augusta, ‘[he’d] back [his] little Welsh fillies against a whole race of thoroughbred mares at the Court of St. James’s’ (I, 112–13). Somewhat reminiscent of Henry de Villeroi in Udolpho, the gallant Charles gives constant support to his young female relatives against the ‘pettishness’ and unkind fault-finding of his mother and Isabella. [70]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentThe satirical portrayal of Mr Bowen (initially ‘Bower’, i, 208), a prosperous Fleet Street haberdasher, is of particular interest due to the fact that Ann Radcliffe’s father, William Ward, lived and worked for twenty-one years as a haberdasher at No. 19 Holborn, not far from Fleet Street. [71] Initially, Louisa finds Bowen and his family to be friendly and well meaning, and her gratitude for Mr Bowen’s generosity in supplying her father with daily necessities at King’s Bench Prison allows her to ‘overlook their vulgarity’. Although her ‘pride is hurt’ when Charles is present, and she hears herself called ‘cousin’ by them, she feels some guilt about her feelings (I, 236). However, Louisa’s shame and vexation escalate when, during a walk in Kensington Gardens, the beribboned finery of Bowen’s daughters attracts the rude and contemptuous ‘quizzing’ of Colonel Singleton and Miss Munt, to which the self-important grocer, Mr Figgens, indignantly retaliates. This mortification is capped by Bowen’s confident presumption that Louisa will marry the forward grocer. The haberdasher’s own officiousness is best exemplified in his hosting of a ‘jolification’, at which he urges his guests to ‘make room’ for ‘Sir Grey de Ligne’s son! […] a Baronet’s son!’ and at supper makes public his design as if it were a fait accompli:

‘Now, Sir,’ said Mr Bowen, ‘what will you eat? Here’s some fine fowls; gave twelve shillings a couple for them—it’s like eating gold, as a body may say! I seldom have ’em but at Christmas; only as my cousin was here, and this a wedding supper like,’ looking at Mr. Figgens, who by his looks shewed satisfaction at the remark. ‘Come, gentlemen, eat, there’s plenty.’ (I, 250)

Wherever they are, the Bowens and their friends are completely unaware of the loud and tasteless spectacle they present, or of the social embarrassment they cause the retiring and gentle Louisa.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentMost of the novel’s social criticism is given to Juliana; however, Louisa’s visits to King’s Bench make her acutely aware of the ruin of ‘poor tradesmen’s families’ by ‘the licentious extravagance of the rich’, and of the plight of others like her father, rendered penniless by outright fraud. She laments the fate of the ‘crowds of disconsolate prisoners’ whose talents and potentially valuable services are thus lost to their country (I, 205–08). Juliana, in turn, is shocked by the manners and practices of a dissolute upper class at assemblies, balls, and the opera. The rudeness and greed of supper crowds, the disrespect for women, laxity of sexual mores, fashion for ‘cicisbeos’, and gossip about who is appearing in Doctors’ Commons, the extravagant accumulation of debts and callous duping of tradesmen, the gambling, dissipation, and affectation at private parties, all far from making Juliana a ‘votary of fashion’, convince her of ‘the profligacy of modern times’, and of the value of her Welsh, agrarian community: ‘Oh, how gladly would I remain for ever a rustic on my native mountains, rather than witness, or for a moment give sanction to, the degeneracy of polished morals!’ (I, 229–30)

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentLike Emily de Montalte in Lusignan, and Radcliffe’s propertied heroines, Juliana subscribes to a gothic pastoral ideal whereby aristocratic families occupy their days in residence on their estates, benevolently administering to the wellbeing and happiness of their indigent tenants. However, at West Cliff, she finds Lord Callenberg’s country estate to be as much given over to relatives and friends who indulge in gambling, drink, flirtation, and ‘quizzing the natives’ as his residence in London (II, 72–81, 93–99, 110–11).

Use of the Pseudo-Supernatural: Juliana’s ‘Mysterious Monitor’

The most obviously experimental feature of The Orphans of Llangloed is its staging of the heroine’s encounters with the stern mentor-figure who claims to be her guardian angel, St Arvon, ‘appointed by Heaven to attend [her] steps, and guide them in the paths of virtue’: ‘Invisible, I have hitherto guarded you from danger; but am now permitted to assume this mortal form for the purpose of admonishing your youth, and teaching you the ways of wisdom.’ (I, 76–77) While there is certainty for Juliana that what she sees is real, that St Arvon’s precepts are virtuous, and that he has advance knowledge of events in her life, his status for her as an instance of the marvellous is initially in doubt, and then left in abeyance as her circumstances change. Once Juliana leaves Llangloed, he is absent from the narrative, except for one comically intriguing episode at a masquerade in London early in Volume Two, when his presence is obvious to the reader but not detected by Juliana. [72] On her return to the castle, he appears to her only twice more, and details of his distressing news about an unscrupulous legal claim on her inheritance are soon validated, first by her caring uncle Sir Grey de Ligne, and then by Charles, proving once more to Juliana the reliability of St Arvon’s ‘prophetic spirit’. The mystery of his status and identity is finally resolved when Juliana visits him at Newgate. There she is astonished to find not the tutelary figure from ‘ethereal heights’ she had come to accept, but a ‘poor emaciated criminal’ who confesses to being both a mere ‘weak mortal’ and her supposedly dead father (III, 87–88). In this fashion, the novel offers a different, tragicomic take on the ‘explained supernatural’ for which Radcliffe had become renowned in the 1790s.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentWhen, in an early letter to Lucy Lloyd, Juliana focuses on her visitor’s avowed purpose, and is unprepared to question his unconventional attire and appeal to the authority of Heaven for his demand of secrecy, a gap opens up between her limited point of view in evaluating what she sees and what the reader of the novel perceives must be the case. This gap takes on a further dimension with Lucy’s letter of response. Lucy, who is ‘totally at a loss to imagine who [Juliana’s] mysterious monitor can be’, passes on her father’s thoughts on the topic of ‘departed spirits’, having first taken ‘an opportunity of asking him whether he thought it likely that souls once translated to immortality were ever permitted to return, for the purpose of watching those they loved, or warning them of danger’. Naming Dr Johnson as his authority, Pastor Lloyd had answered his daughter as follows:

‘It would be presumptuous,’ says he, ‘for any person to think or declare that departed spirits can no more return to earth: a system which in all ages, and amongst all people, has been credited, more or less, cannot be entirely devoid of foundation. I can therefore not doubt that Providence, for great and wise purposes, may sometimes invest ethereal beings with a mandate from heaven. […] I do not believe that any person now living will aver that they have seen apparitions; yet few dispute the possibility of such. But I repeat to you, that such a miracle can only happen on some most extraordinary and pressing exigence.’ (I, 84–86) [73]

Given that Juliana has said nothing in her letter about departed spirits, and that there is no necessary connection between departed spirits and guardian angels, readers could reasonably have expected Lucy to use the term ‘guardian angel’ and ask her father about the tutelary role and appearance of such beings. [74]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentInstead, the author’s conflation of the two subjects in Lucy’s exchange with her father posits a religious notion found in both Lusignan and Udolpho. Just as Emily de Montalte contemplates watching over Lusignan as ‘a guardian angel’, ‘if after death we are permitted to communicate with terrestrial beings’ (III, 23), so St Aubert fervently expresses the ‘hope that we shall be permitted to look down on those we have left on earth’, that ‘disembodied spirits watch over the friends they have loved’. In her ‘Essay’, Radcliffe takes this a step further in having her traveller Willoughton assert the probability that, for ‘very rare and important purposes’, spirits may be ‘permitted to become visible’ in a ‘suspension […] of the laws prescribed to what we call Nature’. [75] Pastor Lloyd’s own statements, as well as St Arvon’s, that ‘presumptuous is the mortal who shall assert that an inversion of the order of nature is never permitted’ (I, 79), are consonant with Willoughton’s argument.


Should my surmise about the authorship of these novels prove correct, it would help to explain why Radcliffe had become so ‘disinclined’ to publication post 1802–03, the period cited by Talfourd. The timing of a statement made in a letter sometime in 1802 to the Revd Joseph Cooper Walker, by fellow novelist Charlotte Smith, apropos the ‘woeful times’ for authors and publishing, would also make greater sense than otherwise. Having claimed, ‘Mrs Ratcliffe [sic] is restrained by the authority of her husband from calling any “more spirits from the vasty deep” of her imagination’, Smith immediately adds, ‘the Lees seem to have laid by the pen for some time’. [76] Yet, Harriet Lee’s Clara Lennox and Canterbury Tales were published in 1797, the year in which Radcliffe’s last novel, The Italian, had also appeared. So, Radcliffe could also have been said to ‘have laid by the pen for some time’, unless Smith knew, or at least suspected, that in the interim she had still continued to write, and perhaps to publish. The existence of undetected anonymous publications by his wife could also explain the ‘fidgetty scrupulousness […] about things of no manner of consequence’ to which William Radcliffe subjected Talfourd in 1825–26, while the latter was ‘drawing up’ the Memoir of the Author, with Extracts from her Journals. [77] Significantly, the Memoir contains no entries from her journal for 1799, when both Ann and William appear to have spent some months away from London ‘in the country’. [78]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentRadcliffe’s keen interest in the art of composition, her experiment with a new form in Gaston de Blondeville, and her sensitivity to criticism are unquestioned. [79] She heeded criticisms of her work, and attempted to hone her narrative style accordingly. For example, there is far less landscape description in The Italian than in Udolpho, and its heroine, Ellena, is not given to composing stanzas of verse as is Udolpho’s effusive Emily. As Rictor Norton puts it, ‘poetic reverie has been replaced by dramatic action’. [80] The frequent cutting from one scene to another in Lusignan might be said to have taken this approximation to drama a step further, specifically, towards tragedy. One reviewer, Mary Wollstonecraft, had remarked of The Italian: ‘The passions of fear, pride, anger, and ambition, with their numerous train, are more happily delineated, than those of love, grief, or despair’. [81] Perhaps one of the author’s aims in Lusignan was to make good this perceived deficit, while also refuting the damning accusation made of Radcliffe’s work by the Anti-Jacobin Review, that the ‘mysterious horror’ of her situations and events was ‘rather German than English’. The lack of any physical description of Lusignan’s villainous cleric, and his relegation to the wings for much of the novel, could also indicate a sensitivity to the same critic’s claim that Schedoni was ‘in reality, the hero’ of The Italian. [82]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentWhatever the case, in the oppressive cultural climate of war-weary Britain, resort to anonymity with the Minerva Press protected the author of Lusignan and The Orphans of Llangloed from censorious and carping critics, and ensured access to a large audience. Just as importantly, it enabled freedom to experiment, and the production of two rather different forms of Radcliffean romance.


1. Lusignan, or the Abbaye of La Trappe (London: Minerva Press, 1801). In 12 out of 19 possible circulating libraries. The Orphans of Llangloed (London: Minerva Press, 1802): the title page has ‘By the Author of Lusignan’. In 9 out of 19 possible circulating libraries. P. D. Garside, J. E. Belanger, and S. A. Ragaz, British Fiction, 1800–1829: A Database of Production, Circulation & Reception, designer A. A. Mandal <http://www.british.fiction.cf.ac.uk>. Online: Internet (12 June 2008). DBF Record Nos 1801A007 and 1802A011. Facsimiles on CD-ROM (Wildberg: Belser Wissenschaftlicher Dienst, 2000). Future references will appear parenthetically in the text. All quotations with kind permission © 2000-2012 Belser Wissenschaftlicher Dienst.

2. Cf. Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho, ed. by Jacqueline Howard (London: Penguin Books, 2001), II, ch. vi, p. 230:

The breezy freshness of the morning, too, revived her. She raised her thoughts in prayer, which she felt always most disposed to do, when viewing the sublimity of nature, and her mind recovered its strength.

Cf. also I, ch. x, p. 109:

The deep repose of the scene, the rich scents, that floated on the breeze, the grandeur of the wide horizon, and the clear blue arch, soothed and gradually elevated her mind to that sublime complacency, that renders the vexations of this world so insignificant and mean in our eyes, that we wonder they have had the power to disturb us.

See also The Italian, ed. by Robert Miles (London: Penguin Books, 2000), I, ch. vi, p. 75, and Gaston de Blondeville, ed. by Frances Chiu (Chicago: Valancourt Books, 2006), pp. 205–06.

3. John Milton, Paradise Lost, V, 153–55; in The Poetical Works of John Milton, ed. by Helen Darbishire (London: Oxford University Press, 1958), p. 104.

4. See Thomas Noon Talfourd, ‘Memoir of the Life and Writings of Mrs Radcliffe’, anonymously prefixed to Ann Radcliffe, Gaston de Blondeville or the Court of Henry III, half title, The Posthumous Works of Mrs Radcliffe, 4 vols (London: Henry Colburn, 1826), I, 19–23, 26–31, 36–43, of which the following provide representative instances:

All was in gradual shades of blue; the calm sea below, the shores and distant hills, stretching along a cloudless blue sky. Innumerable vessels and little sails, whose whiteness was just softened with azure tint. It is impossible to express the beauty of those soft melting tints, that painted the distant perspective. […]

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentOh God! Thy great laws will one day be more fully known by thy creatures; […] the God of order and all of this and far greater grandeur, the creator of that glorious sun, which never fails in its course, will not neglect us. (pp. 28, 39)

For an example of this type in Orphans of Llangloed, see II, 181–83.

5. Ann Radcliffe, ‘Written in the Isle of Wight’, Posthumous Works,IV, 221–22. See Talfourd, ‘Memoir of Mrs Radcliffe’, pp. 19–23 and 25–31, for Radcliffe’s descriptions, written on tours late in 1797 and 1798, of the chalky cliffs, blue sea-bay, and terrain of Dover, Shakespeare’s Cliff, and Beachy Head, the French coast at a distance, and also sea-going vessels and sailors in the Channel, apropos her visits to Portsmouth, Spithead, Cowes, and the Isle of Wight. In her journal for July 1800 (pp. 36–42), Worthing and the coastline from Beachy Head to Dover are also described. The sea, sailors, storms at sea, and shipwreck are favourite subjects in her poems, such as ‘Shakespeare’s Cliff’, ‘The Fishers—Steephill’, ‘Sea-views, Midnight’, ‘A Sea-View’, ‘Written on the Isle of Wight’, and ‘The Sea-Mew’ (IV, 162–69, 170–77, 200–03, 215–19, 221–30, 240–48).

6. See also Llangloed, III, 65 for actual use of the term ‘in unison’. For a description of this fourth type in Lusignan, see II, 144–45, where the gloomy aspect of Luneville Castle presents to Emily ‘an object in exact correspondence with the day’. Again, in IV, 135–37, as Lusignan (now Duke of Meronville) approaches the monastery of La Trappe, he is said to have ‘felt his heart in perfect unison with the scene; a sort of pious terror penetrated his soul’. Cf. The Italian, I, ch. vi, p. 78: the solemn vesper service at La Pièta ‘was a music […] in perfect unison with [Ellena’s] feelings’.

In another instance in Lusignan (III, 98–99), Radcliffe’s description, ‘the organ swelled a solemn peal’, made apropos a procession of monks into Furness Abbey, in her Journey Made in the Summer of 1794 (Dublin: Wogan, et al., 1795, p. 490), is also used. An incarcerated nun at the convent of St Clair describes how, when she was compelled to take her vows, and ‘the organ swelled a solemn peal’, she thought ‘the lamps burnt pale, Nature seemed to make a solemn pause, to view the sacrifice [she] made’.

7. ‘On the Supernatural in Poetry,’ New Monthly Magazine, 16 (1826), 145–52; reprinted in Gothic Documents: A Sourcebook, 1700–1820, ed. by E. J. Clery and Robert Miles (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2000), pp. 163–171.

8. Cf. Lusignan, IV, 144–47 and Mysteries of Udolpho, IV, ch. xvi, p. 605.

9. For example, after the unsuperstitious Madame de Meronville has been subjected to apparently supernatural terror and divested of Emily’s letter in the long gallery at Luneville Castle, she correctly rationalises her experience as ‘some plot that required the aid of supernatural appearances’ (I, 142). However, on p. 149, the narrator intrudes to suggest a further, obscure, supernatural explanation involving ‘spirits of darkness’ or ‘aerial beings’. Quite unnecessary to the plot, this remains an isolated Miltonic moment in the novel, its purpose merely to hint at unplumbed depths of criminality in the Abbé’s character.

10. Claudine Alexandrine Guérin de Tencin, Memoirs of the Count of Comminge, from the French of Monsieur d’Arnaud (London: G. Kearsley, 1774). D’Arnaud is a misattribution: see Josephine Grieder, ‘The Prose Fiction of Baculard D’Arnaud in Late Eighteenth-Century England’, French Studies, 24.2 (Apr 1970), 125. The novel has 181 pages, the first eight of which contain a prefatory description of La Trappe, which de Tencin perceives as ‘a scene teeming with the most noble traits for the gloomy imagination of a painter or a poet’.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentFrançois-Thomas-Marie de Baculard d’Arnaud, Les Amans malheureux, ou Le Comte de Comminge, drame en trois actes et en vers, précédé d’un discourse préliminaire, suivi de la lettre & des mémoires du comte de Comminge (1764; Paris: L’Esclapart, 1765). Amants used in later editions published by Le Jay. According to Grieder, d’Arnaud’s plays were never translated into English; however, it seems that Le Jay published Le Comte du Comminge, ou les amans malheureux (the order of the title is reversed) as a fourth edition in English in 1768.

IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndentMontague Summers, in A Gothic Bibliography (New York: Russell & Russell, 1964), p. 394, errs in giving precedence to d’Arnaud’s play as the main source, as does James R. Foster in The Pre-Romantic Novel in England (New York: Modern Language Association of America; London: OUP, 1949), p. 197, when he claims that the author has made only ‘slight changes’ to d’Arnaud’s Comminge to turn it into a gothic novel.

11. In vol. 1, ch. vi, Caroline de Montfort’s long story of the loss of her parents and orphaned upbringing introduces as mysteries the disappearance of her mother Adelaide fifteen years earlier, and the doubtful authenticity of her surname. These mysteries are resolved providentially late in vol. 4, when Dorimond discovers Caroline’s true identity from two miniatures of her parents, and Adelaide is rescued from the cruel incarceration she has suffered at the hands of her husband’s acquisitive and lustful brother, the Marquis di Bentivoglio, the details of whose past crimes are revealed. This secondary plot thus resounds with echoes of Radcliffe’s A Sicilian Romance and The Italian. The plot device of two miniatures providing circumstantial evidence is also used in Gaston de Blondeville (pp. 150–51).

12. Cf. The Mysteries of Udolpho, III, ch. x, pp. 440, 445. When Lusignan’s Eugenia de Foix is first mentioned, it is as the bride the implacable Duke of Meronville has chosen for his son, and her failure to arrive at Luneville Castle is treated as a mystery and cause for alarm, with La Haye maligning Emily and Lusignan for her disappearance. However, when Eugenia is actually introduced as a character, the narration moves abruptly into outright satire, presenting in free indirect style the reasoning of the romance-reading ‘heroine’ in seeking to avoid uniting her fortune to that of the Marquis of Lusignan: ‘She had never seen him, consequently could form no estimation of his merits, but she had read some romances, which taught her that love was the business of life.’ (I, 153)

13. Frederick S. Frank, The First Gothics: A Critical Guide to the English Gothic Novel (New York & London: Garland Publishing Inc., 1987), p. 218; Montague Summers, The Gothic Quest (New York: Russell & Russell, 1964), pp. 194–95.

14. Like ‘the Abate’ in A Sicilian Romance, the abbess of St Clair is hypocritically open to bribery. She also displays the cruelty of the tyrannical abbess of San [sic] Stefano in The Italian. In contrast, the Bishop of the Diocese is a man of ‘singular probity’ who heeds Emily de Montalte’s letter about the wrongs perpetrated in St Clair, and moves immediately to rectify them. For Emily’s belief that seclusion is not ‘the will of Heaven’, and her long reflection on what she perceives to be a lack of pure motives and ‘true piety’ in monastic life in general, see Lusignan, III, 131–34; the topic is taken up again in Llangloed, III, 13–14, 79–81.

15. Meronville, believing his Emily dead, turns his back on his inherited dukedom, and enters the austere, Cistercian monastery to seek in his monastic vows and the strict Bernardine Rule an escape from his obsessive love and grief. There he is visited by Emily’s brother-in-law, devoted friend and helper, Dorimond, who tells him that Emily’s odious husband Bentivoglio has died, but that his Emily still lives, having been rescued from incarceration in a rock overhanging the sea, in a place contiguous to the pleasure grounds of St Jago Castle. She had been found on information from Caroline de Montfort’s mother, who had been rescued shortly before from the same area. In de Tencin’s Comminge, Benavides had imprisoned Adélaïde in a dungeon, from which she was simply released after his death. Urging Meronville to escape and return to Emily, Dorimond follows d’Arnaud’s D’Orvigni in offering to take Meronville’s place.

16. Henry Fielding, The Wedding Day: A Comedy; in Miscellanies, 2 vols (London: Andrew Millar, 1743), II, 394.

17. Hamlet, III.II.22–24; in William Shakespeare, The Complete Works, ed. by Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor (2nd edn, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 699.

18. Critical Review, 2nd ser. 37 (Feb 1803), 237–38.

19. Talfourd, ‘Memoir of Mrs Radcliffe’, p. 13.

20. For example, ‘and now, honey, you may breathe then: I would not, by Jasus, hurt your sweet face, not for the world!’ (II, 121)

21. Anti-Jacobin Review and Protestant Advocate; or, Monthly Political and Literary Censor, 7 (Sep 1800), 29.

22. Talfourd, ‘Memoir of Mrs Radcliffe’, pp. 99, 100, 121.

23. The point of view is that of Meronville (d’Arnaud’s Comminge/Frere [sic] Arsene) until the final episode (IV, 226–39), when the unprofessed Emily, who has been known to all only as Brother Ambrose (d’Arnaud’s Adélaïde/Frère Euthime) makes her dying confession on a bed of straw and ashes to the assembled brothers, revealing first that she is ‘a woman’, and then relating her story, which closely follows that of d’Arnaud’s Frère Euthime. For the sake of Meronville, she had ‘espoused a man [she] detested’. On gaining her freedom, she had taken a male habit before causing a report of her death to be spread. By ‘the hand of Providence’ she had been drawn to La Trappe on the very occasion of Meronville’s pronunciation of his vows, and had sacrilegiously gained admittance to be secretly near her beloved, but had subsequently suffered the spiritual trials God had intended for her.

24. D’Arnaud, Les Amans malheureux, pp. 15–17. His ‘souterrain vaste & profond’ has the tomb of de Rancé surmounted by a crucifix surrounded by skulls, open graves awaiting corpses, and solemn inscriptions.

25. Radcliffe, Journey in Summer 1794, pp. 492–93.

26. See Ann Radcliffe, A Sicilian Romance, ed. by Alison Milbank (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), ch. ix, pp. 118–24; ch. xi, pp. 135–37. The earliest parts of Cornelia’s story are very similar to those of the wronged and imprisoned nun, Julia, in Lusignan (III, 95–101), while the description of Cornelia’s resignation and angelic appearance as she dies is very similar to the description of Emily de Montalte as she prepares herself for death (II, 21).

27. Forms of the word ‘vibrate’, used as a shorthand way to convey the heightened import of words or music on a character’s ear or heart, occur a number of times in Lusignan (I, 139; III, 4, 208; IV, 45, 215, 239). Radcliffe also uses the term in suggesting the combined effect on King Henry III of the spectre’s demand and warning with the monks’ chant of the ‘second requiem’, at the climax of Gaston de Blondeville (p. 196). In both novels, the term seems an appropriation of David Hartley’s theoretical usage in his Observations on Man, his Frame, his Duty, and his Expectations, 2 vols (1749; New York: Garland Publishing, 1971), I, 223–28, 243–48. Cf. Schedoni’s explanation of the effect of hearing the chant of ‘the first requiem’ on the evil intentions of the Marquesa in The Italian, II, ch. IV, p. 207: ‘let music […] touch some feeble chord of her heart, and echo to her fancy, and lo! all her perceptions change’.

28. Emily’s final speech differs markedly from that of d’Arnaud’s Adélaïde/Frère Euthime, both in its lack of brevity and in its affirmation of love over rectitude (de Tencin’s Adélaïde/unnamed brother does not address, or even look at, Comminge directly at all). Emily’s speech also makes the ‘glorious’ end of her spiritual journey, as predicted by her father’s ghost, the point of closure and chief focus for the author, who is silent about the reaction and fate of the eponymous hero. In contrast, de Tencin and d’Arnaud, both have Comminge delirious with grief, embracing the body of his beloved, and then being dragged away forcibly by the brothers to his cell. De Tencin’s sacrilegious Comminge is subsequently granted permission by the Abbot to leave La Trappe, and spend the rest of his days in a hermitage.

29. Cf. Udolpho, IV, ch. x, pp. 546–50.

30. Lusignan, IV, 147–53, 281–83; in John Armstrong, The Art of Preserving Health (London: Andrew Millar, 1744), pp. 112, 120. These precepts can also be detected in Udolpho, for example, in St Aubert’s early instruction to Emily ‘to resist her first impressions, and to acquire that steady dignity of mind that can alone counterbalance the passions, and bear us […] above the reach of circumstances’ (I, ch. i, p. 9).

31. On this point, see Angela Wright, ‘In Search of Arden, Ann Radcliffe’s William Shakespeare’, in Gothic Shakespeares, ed. by John Drakakis and Dale Townshend (Routledge, Abingdon, 2008), pp. 116–17. In Lusignan, the first momentous event is the acquiescence of the wavering Duke with La Haye’s (as yet unrevealed) plot to prevent the marriage of Emily and Lusignan, and take his terrible revenge. The second is the appearance of a spectre to Emily, and the third, the abduction of Lusignan on the eve of his wedding to Emily by La Haye’s thugs, with his imprisonment by lettre de cachet in Belleisle Priory.

32. Hamlet I.IV.27–29:

‘But tell
Why thy canonized bones, hearsed in the earth,
Have burst their cearments?’

33. Radcliffe, ‘On the Supernatural in Poetry’, pp. 166–67. In this piece, which takes the form of a discussion between two travellers, Radcliffe has the theoretical Willoughton state that ‘above every ideal being is the ghost of Hamlet, with all its attendant incidents of time and place’, and ‘probability is enough for the poet’s justification, the ghost being supposed to have come for an important purpose’.

34. See Radcliffe, Sicilian Romance, ch. II, p. 36: Madame de Menon’s belief that ‘unembodied spirits’ can appear ‘only by the express permission of God, and for some very singular purposes’; also in The Romance of the Forest, ed. by Chloe Chard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), III, ch. xvIII, pp. 274–75, La Luc’s faith in meeting again in ‘a future state’ those we have loved on earth; and in Udolpho (I, ch. xi, pp. 66–67), St Aubert’s hope that ‘disembodied spirits watch over the friends they have loved’.

35. Nathan Drake, Literary Hours or Sketches Critical and Narrative, 3 vols (London: Cadell and Davies, 1800; rptd New York: Garland, 1970), I, 359.

36. In Gaston de Blondeville, Radcliffe makes greater use of this theme in describing Gaston de Blondeville’s guilty reactions to the pageant re-enactment of the crime against Woodreeve’s kinsman, Sir Reginald de Folville (pp. 93–94).

37. The morning after the ghost’s second appearance, Gabriella’s amusing recount to Emily, of having seen a tall ghost coming up the stairs with a taper, dressed all in white, as if it had just come out of the coffin in its winding-sheet, and with a face not unlike her mistress, soon has Emily smiling, as she realises that it is her own return to her room that Gabriella has witnessed. However, Emily rebukes her for her credulity, and requests sternly that she not disseminate such ‘idle fancies’ amongst the servants, lest she provoke the Duke’s displeasure. Cf. Emily’s remonstration with Annette for her superstitious prattle in Udolpho, II, ch. vi, pp. 234–45; II, ch. vII, pp. 263–64. Radcliffe draws on the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet in The Italian, I, ch. i, pp. 16–17.

38. At some points, the author’s pictorial sense of simultaneous dramatic events seems to anticipate the narrative techniques of film, specifically parallel editing or cross-cutting, for example: ‘While this passed in the Duke’s closet, different scenes were acted in the apartments of Lusignan and Emily’ (II, 196).

39. De Tencin, Count of Comminge has her first-person narrator, Comminge, give a very brief account of the hatred that had prevented his marriage to his first cousin, Adélaïde de Lussan (pp. 9–13).

40. Thomas Gray, ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’, ll. 34–37; in The Poems of Gray and Collins, ed. by Austin Lane Poole (London: Oxford University Press, 1919), p. 93. Gray was revered by Radcliffe, who paid tribute to his work in her poem ‘Written in the Isle of Wight’, investing the Isle with significance as a place where ‘pensive Gray some sad sweet moments passed’, and then quoting line 37 from his ‘Elegy’ (Posthumous Works, IV, 221–22).

41. In the first chapter of Udolpho, which opens in 1584, twelve years after Coligny’s death, Radcliffe makes brief mention of the turbulence of the period, the court of Henry the Third, the duke of Joyeuse, and the Huguenot leader, Henry of Navarre. According to Talfourd, ‘Memoir of Mrs Radcliffe’, p. 5, Radcliffe was proud of her descent from moderate, Dutch Calvinists Johan and Cornelius De Witt, who were slaughtered in 1672 during a period of politico-religious intrigue and unrest.

42. For a discussion of the significance of the temporal setting Robert Miles has called ‘the Gothic cusp’ in Sicilian Romance, Romance of the Forest, and Udolpho, see his Ann Radcliffe: The Great Enchantress (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 1995), pp. 86-88, 114, 132, 144–45.

43. See De Tencin, Count of Comminge, p. 13; cf. Udolpho, II, ch. III, p. 174:

His soul was little susceptible of light pleasure. He delighted in the energies of the passions; the difficulties and tempests of life, which wreck the happiness of others, roused and strengthened all the powers of his mind, and afforded him the highest enjoyments, of which his nature was capable.

44. The most memorable example is the foxy treatment of the Duke of Meronville’s sudden expiry IV, 15–16. The narrator comments that the Duke ‘had died very opportunely for La Haye’, and relates how the exposure of his forgeries of the Duke’s signature on various documents had been imminent. But while our suspicions of foul play are immediately aroused by this information, the actual cause of the Duke’s death is withheld for another four chapters. Instead, the event is passed over, albeit with reflexive irony, as ‘one of those fortunate strokes of fate, which sometimes favour the villain’. This makes the Abbé’s subsequent deathbed confession of his murder of the Duke all the more inconsistent, and exposes the author to accusations of incoherence and bad faith similar to those made in relation to Udolpho.

45. Without the sublime appearance and loftiness of spirit of Schedoni in The Italian, the degenerate La Haye is ‘malignity personified’, has ‘dissimulation’ as his chief characteristic, and ‘every quality that can constitute the finished villain’ (I, 45, 128–29). His frequent resort to verbal bullying, with its attendant casuistry and blatant hypocrisy, positions him as an object of detestation and contempt.

46. A similar misspelling of ‘Montpellier’ occurs in the unedited Romance of the Forest: Lusignan feels disgust at his father’s ‘imperious’ treatment of his ‘vassals’, and his failure ‘to lighten the yoke of servitude, which was a component part of the feudal system’ (I, 135–36).

47. De Tencin’s Comminge, who has had previous relationships with women, gains permission to ‘spend some days at the Wells’, ‘a public resort’ where there is ‘freedom of behaviour’, and he is readily admitted into ‘parties of pleasure’ (pp. 16–19).

48. The theft is reminiscent of that, in the opening chapter of Udolpho, of Madame St Aubert’s bracelet to which a miniature of her daughter Emily is attached. The initially unknown thief is later revealed as Emily’s secret admirer, Du Pont. It would seem that, like Lusignan, Udolpho is indebted to de Tencin’s Comminge (pp. 23–27) for this incident.

49. Cf. The Italian, I, ch. ix, p. 121: when Vivaldi accosts Schedoni in the church of Spirito Santo, accusing him of abducting Ellena, he is ignored by the monk, but ‘a respect for his age and profession with [holds] Vivaldi from seizing and compelling him to answer’. Nevertheless, Schedoni determines on ‘a terrible revenge’ for the insults he has suffered (I, ch. x, p. 127).

50. Although Emily’s mother, Madame de Clarival, has great faith in her daughter’s ‘virtue and good sense’, like St Aubert in Udolpho (I, ch. vII, pp. 78–79), she warns Emily of ‘the errors of sensibility, and a too fervid imagination’, albeit in relation to Emily’s readiness ‘to ascribe virtue to everything which wears the semblance of it’ (Lusignan, I, 43–44).

51. Immanuel Kant, Grundelung zur Metaphysik der Sitten (1785); Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, trans. and ed. by Mary Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 12: ‘It is just then that the worth of character comes out, which is moral and incomparably the highest, namely that he is beneficent not from inclination, but from duty.’ Cf. Adeline’s conflicts between inclination and duty, in Romance of the Forest (I, ch. v, pp. 74, 79–80, 82); Emily’s, in Udolpho (I, ch. xIII, pp. 147, 149), and Ellena’s, in The Italian (II, ch. v, p. 210–13). For a discussion of Kantian duty and virtue in Radcliffe’s heroines, see John Garrett, Gothic Strains and Bourgeois Sentiments in the Novels of Ann Radcliffe and her Imitators (New York: Arno Press, 1980), pp. 91–96. Cf. also de Tencin, Comminge, p. 56.

52. Unbeknown to Lusignan, Emily secures his release from Belleisle Priory by writing a letter to the Duke in which she promises to conceal her whereabouts and never see Lusignan again. However, after a chance meeting, Lusignan is again confined. He escapes to see her once more, and is released again only after Emily has capitulated to the Duke’s demand (forged by La Haye) that she marry someone else.

53. Cf. Romance of the Forest, III, ch. xvi, p. 243.

54. The most striking and suspenseful example of the use of music in Lusignan occurs when Lusignan (now Duke of Meronville), foolhardily having gained admission to St Jago disguised as a painter to observe his Emily incognito, falls under the spell of her music-making (IV, 45).

55. Cf. Udolpho, IV, ch. xi, pp. 556–57, for the description of Emily St Aubert’s return to ‘the scene of her earliest delight’ where, amongst the groves her father had planted, ‘her heart melted to the tender recollections’. The epigraph that signals Emily’s return to La Vallée, four lines from Gray’s ‘Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College’ (p. 556), is also repeated as epigraph to the chapter in Lusignan (III, 148) depicting Emily de Montalte’s return to her home in the Valais.

56. Cf. Romance of the Forest (II, ch. xi, p. 163; III, ch. xv, p. 230) for Adeline’s ‘dignity of virtue […] touched with sorrow’ that ‘awes’ the lecherous Marquis de Montalt, and her sweetness and innocence that moves La Motte. Cf. also Udolpho (III, ch. III, p. 346) for Emily’s ‘divinity of pity’ that moves Montoni.

57. Italian, III, ch. xIII, pp. 475–76: Radcliffe uses the term ‘fairy vision’ in her description of the beautifully situated villa that the newly wed Ellena and Vivaldi make their principal residence.

58. Accompanied by ‘her favourite dog’ (which jumps at flies), Emily arranges most days to be rowed to a small island, ‘divided by the encroachments of the sea from the pleasure grounds adjacent to the Castle’, and covered by ‘a beautiful wood’. Here she passes her days by seeking ‘to divert her thoughts’ in ‘the historic page, or in the harmony of poetic numbers’, and on occasion playing her lyre and singing. Cf. Talfourd, ‘Memoir of Mrs Radcliffe’, pp. 38, 41, 43–44.

59. Juliana writes twenty-four letters, Mrs Middleton ten, her cousins Louisa Morgan and Charles de Ligne each seven, her lover Henry Morton five, and her friend Lucy Lloyd three. Seven characters write only one letter each, and four write two or three. All reveal aspects of the writer’s character and his or her consciousness. For the most part they also either forward the plot or highlight a feature of the society of the novel, or both.

60. Cf. Sicilian Romance, ch. i, pp. 3–8; ch. II, pp. 28–29.

61. Apart from combining elements of the beautiful and sublime in the loving description of the environs of Llangloed, the author may be read as taking a sly, Radcliffean tilt at Gilpin’s avowed preference for a tower over a steeple, by having Mrs Middleton briefly digress to extol the function of the ‘truly picturesque’ steeple adjoining Pastor Lloyd’s house, in creating a visual effect of the greatest aesthetic harmony (I, 6–7). In her journal for 13 Oct 1801 (Talfourd, ‘Memoir of Mrs Radcliffe’, pp. 54–55), Radcliffe had exclaimed of the spire of Salisbury Cathedral, ‘How could Mr. Gilpin prefer a tower to it!’ Her reference is to a passage in William Gilpin’s Observations on the Western Parts of England […] to Which Are Added, a Few Remarks on the Picturesque Beauties of the Isle of Wight (London: Cadell and Davies, 1798), p. 55: ‘No spire can be so pleasing an object as an elegant Gothic tower.’

62. In the didactic use of this gothic vestige as plot device, the author may have been influenced by Richardson’s Sir Charles Grandison (1753–54), which had explicitly attacked the notion and practice of duelling as ‘Gothic barbarism’ and ‘invitation to murder’. See Samuel Richardson, The History of Sir Charles Grandison, ed. by Jocelyn Harris, 3 vols (London: Oxford University Press, 1972), I, 262, 266; III, 464–65.

63. Other poems quoted include Earl Nugent’s ‘To a Lady’ (Epistle XIV), Lord John Wilmot’s ‘A Letter from Artemizia in Towne to Chloe in the Country’, Matthew Prior’s ‘Henry and Emma’, and Joseph Addison’s ‘The Campaign’.

64. See, for example, Llangloed, II, 190 and III, 203, for the twice-used ‘Even-handed Justice | Returns the ingredients of our poison’d chalice | To our own lips’ (Macbeth, I.vII.10–12).

65. As in Lusignan, the author exploits the forbidden love theme from Romeo and Juliet in making Juliana’s family name the insuperable barrier to Henry Morton’s love for her. Morton’s father (Lord Falkington) has continued to hate the deceased Arthur Glendower as the murderer of his innocent brother, Captain Morton. The parallel with Shakespeare’s play is made quite explicit in I, 195–96, where, in praise of Juliana’s eyes to Colonel Singleton, Morton quotes Romeo’s panegyric on Juliet (II.i.54–64). This literary context gives legitimacy to the later comic masquerade scene (II, 38–42) as the appropriate occasion for Morton, disguised in a black domino, to declare his love.

66. In Gaston de Blondville (‘Introduction’, p. 17), Radcliffe’s mouthpiece, Willoughton, argues that old castles, and the ‘picturesque visions’ they awaken, ‘render antiquity, of all studies, the least liable to the epithet of dry, though dull and dry people so liberally bestow it.’

67. Sir George Lyttelton, ‘Soliloquy of a Beauty in the Country’; in The Penguin Book of Eighteenth-Century Verse, ed. by Dennis Davison (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973), p. 145. The preceding couplet is also relevant to Isabella’s affectations:

Is this the life a beauty ought to lead?
Were eyes so radiant only made to read?

The author further mines Lyttelton’s ironic portrayal of his soliloquising ‘beauty’ by subsequently making Isabella’s strongest grievance the lack of notice she has received from insensible country ‘brutes’, these being the parishioners at Glenfield Church who have ‘stupidly’ looked at the parson instead of her. As Cadell & Davies published a volume of Lyttelton’s poetry in 1801, the poem’s witty lines may have had some currency in London at the time of the publication of The Orphans of Llangloed.

68. Cf., for example, Udolpho, I, ch. x, pp. 105–08; ch. xII, pp. 115–16, 119–33; II, ch. III, pp. 194–95.

69. However, in a short spate of correspondence early in vol. 2, Lady de Ligne exhibits a mendacity and viciousness that go well beyond her satirised self-importance when she asks her lawyer, Mr Jefferson, to attempt to dispossess Juliana of her title and fortune, and direct it to Louisa because her son Charles, irrespective of his mother’s wishes, intends to make Louisa his wife.

70. Cf. Udolpho, III, ch. x, pp. 440–41, 445 and ch. xi, pp. 448, 452. In contrast to his mother, the Countess of Villeroi, Henry does not consider Château le Blanc a ‘barbarous spot’, but is receptive to ‘the surrounding country, and mode of life’. Although he indulges in some light-hearted teasing of Mademoiselle Bearn, his mother’s fashionable companion from Paris, he is ‘disgusted’ by her ‘conceit and insensibility’. Radcliffe lightly satirises both her ennui and the Countess’s interest in reading sentimental novels on ‘fashionable systems of philosophy […] especially as to infidelity’.

71. There is also the curious coincidence that the Holborn haberdashery premises, which William Ward had occupied on his own account for seventeen years, were taken over by William Bower & Co., becoming by 1774 Bower & Mellersh, Haberdashers. That Radcliffe felt ashamed of her father’s haberdashery and ceramic merchant background is suggested by the fact that she suppressed it, and gave him a more literary character when she told the artist Guiseppe Marchi that her father was a bookseller at Bath. See Rictor Norton, Mistress of Udolpho: The Life of Ann Radcliffe (London and New York: Leicester University Press, 1999), pp. 23–24, 136.

72. Juliana describes how ‘a mysterious mask’, dressed in a black domino had ‘fixed himself’ at her side for much of the evening. The sternly moralistic content and tone of his address betray his identity as St Arvon to the reader, but Juliana is so put on the defensive by his questions that she fails to place his voice, despite experiencing an impression of its familiarity. By again giving Juliana a limited point of view, and then having her encounter another black domino, a masquerade figure so successful in its effacement of character that initially she mistakes the second for the first, and ripostes with him, the author creates a comic scene suffused with irony.

73. For Johnson’s views, see James Boswell, Life of Johnson, ed. by R. W. Chapman, rev. by J. D. Fleeman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980), pp. 287–88, 462, 900.

74. While the notion that every individual soul has a guardian angel has not been an article of faith in the Christian church, the references in the Old and New Testaments to the guardian role of angels have made it a commonly held belief throughout the ages. Precepts and reflections about such beings also occur in the writings of St Jerome, Tertullian, St Thomas Aquinas, St Augustine, Sir Thomas Browne, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Donne, and Edward Young.

75. ‘On the Supernatural in Poetry,’ p. 187.

76. Alan Dugald McKillop, ‘Charlotte Smith’s Letters’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 15 (1951–52), 255. Ironically, Shakespeare’s line, partially quoted by Smith, ‘I can raise spirits from the vasty deep’ (Henry IV, III.i.51) is spoken by the legendary Owain Glyndwr, on whose cachet the author of Llangloed trades in naming the novel’s ancestral Welsh family ‘Glendower’. The family is also descended from ‘Prince Llewellyn ap Griffiths’ (I, 12) called ‘Llewellyn of Wales’ by Radcliffe in Gaston de Blondeville (p. 152).

77. Quoted by Norton, Mistress of Udolpho, p. 248.

78. Ibid., p. 181.

79. Talfourd, ‘Memoir of Mrs Radcliffe’, pp. 8–9, 89.

80. Norton, Mistress of Udolpho, p. 128.

81. Analytical Review, 25 (May 1797), 516.

82. Anti-Jacobin Review, 7 (Sep 1800), 28.