#BookADay - Never Finished: 'The Italian' by Ann Radcliffe
For me there will always only be one book I really couldn't finish, although I know there are others, and that is Ann Radcliffe's The Italian. I decided to read some of Radcliffe's books after reading Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, in which she mocks the Gothic genre, but I simply couldn't do it.
From the first moment Vincentio di Vivaldi, a young nobleman, sets eyes on the veiled figure of Ellena, he is captivated by her enigmatic beauty and grace. But his haughty and manipulative mother is against the match and enlists the help of her confessor to come between them. Schedoni, previously a leading figure of the Inquisition, is a demonic, scheming monk with no qualms about the task, whether it entails abduction, torture—or even murder. The Italian secured Ann Radcliffe's position as the leading writer of Gothic romance of the age, for its atmosphere of supernatural and nightmarish horrors, combined with her evocation of sublime landscapes and chilling narrative.Ellena was such a victim, feinting all the time and constantly desired by everyone, and Vincentio is constantly growing poetic over the moon. Of course the Inquisition is involved, of course there is a scheming mother, and why did i ever think there wouldn't be an abduction? The problem with this was probably that I had just come off a Jane Austen high and changing to Radcliffe's melodramatic style went against everything I just enjoyed. I don't think there's an iota of social criticism in Radcliffe's novels.
However, I try and keep an open mind and will try this novel again. But probably not until I've read everything else there is possibly to read!