Ann Radcliffe, nee Ward (1764-1823) was an English author and a pioneer of the gothic novel. She married William Radcliffe, an editor for the English Chronicle, at Bath in 1788. The couple were childless. To amuse herself, she began to write fiction, which her husband encouraged. Her works were extremely popular among the upper class and the growing middle class, especially among young women. Her works included The Sicilian Romance (1790), The Romance of the Forest (1791), The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and The Italian; or, The Confessional of the Black Penitents (1796). The success of The Romance of the Forest established Radcliffe as the leading exponent of the historical Gothic romance. Her later novels met with even greater attention, and produced many imitators, and famously, Jane Austen's burlesque of The Mysteries of Udolpho in Northanger Abbey, as well as influencing the works of Sir Walter Scott and Mary Wollstonecraft.
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