The Italian (Penguin Classics)

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Press:Penguin Classics Penguin Classics (February 1, 2001)
Publication Date:2001-02-01
Author Name:Ann Radcliffe


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.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world.
With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines.
Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

About the Author

Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823) was the leading exponent of Gothic fiction and, during her lifetime, she published five novels including A Sicilian Romance (1790) and The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) as well as a collection of European travel writings. 
Her novels were immensely popular and much imitated.
Robert Miles teaches English at Sheffield Hallam University.
He is the author of Gothic Writing (Routledge) and Ann Radcliffe: The Great Enchantress (Manchester UP).


Romance,Gothic,Literature & Fiction,History & Criticism,Criticism & Theory,British & Irish

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Comment List (Total:15)

  •     Ann Radcliffe invented Gothic that inspired Mary Shelley and Frankenstein. The Italian is dark and mysterious. The monk is freaky. The inquisition is terrifying. GREAT LITERATURE!!!
  •     Ann Radcliffe – The Italian*** -- Written ca. 1800 by the woman credited to be the originator of the Gothic novel. Mentioned very favourably by Jane Austin in Northanger Abbey. Love story where heroine is below social status of hero whose parents, especially the evil mother, plot to keep them apart. The villain is a monk who is the mother’s confessor and together they plot first to make the heroine a nun then to murder her. The story is quite gripping but it’s interspersed with so much description of scenery and buildings (in beautiful prose) that one skims half the book looking for the next bit of action.
  •     "Optimized for Kindle?" Hardly. First of all, this version is missing the opening sequence. Second, it is missing Chapter 5, Volume 1. Third, there are numerous typographical errors, some of which aren't easy to gloss over. This was my very first Kindle purchase, and it makes me wonder why I bought this silly gadget at all.
  •     There are numerous editing mistakes.
  •     Fast ship. Good price.
  •     Rich, romantic, the triumph of good over evil, full of lush descriptions of the times and the geography of Italy. A wonderful story! I loved it!
  •     Was great!
  •     Conventional wisdom is that Radcliffe was both repulsed and inspired by Matthew Lewis's "The Monk" and wrote the "The Italian" as a response to it.
  •     Read this book for one of my college English classes and really enjoyed it. I was very skeptical at first because I havnt read very many classics. When first reading the book I didn't like it. The language was very hard to read and understand. However, after getting through the first fifty pages I got used to the writing style and actually started to really enjoy the story. There was so much mystery and supernatural elements and suspense throughout the book that kept my interest. The story was filled with evil characters and good characters fighting for their own gain. The characters were also tightly interwoven in politics and relation that they were not wholly in the know about. Overall once you get used to the language it's a great read and I would recommend it.
  •     A classic of the gothic horror genre. Really enjoyed the novel, however, this Kindle edition was loaded with typos. Book was part novel, part word-game.
  •     Eye-opening, mostly about the extent to which the Catholic Church had taken over what men and women could do, the cruelty and hypocrisy in the name of religion and morals.
  •     The life of young nobleman Vicentio de Vivaldi isn't the same the moment he catches a glimpse of a woman in a black veil. Ellena is beautiful, graceful and, in spite of her status as an impoverished orphan under her aunt's care, she has class and poise. But that is not enough for Vivaldi's parents. The son of a marquis cannot possibly take such a girl for his wife. When putting Ellena's reputation in question isn't enough, the marchioness takes some drastic measures to ensure a permanent separation. So she gets the help of Schedoni, a well-respected but corrupt monk, to lock Ellena up at a monastery against her will. Before and during these occurrences, a mysterious apparition in a monk's habit often warns Vivaldi. Is it a ghost? Is it friend or foe? And, more to the point, is it Schedoni? Is he playing some sort of sick game with Vivaldi? Twists and turns and big revelations abound.Set in mid-eighteenth century Naples, this gothic story is about two star-crossed lovers who have to beat an unfair and corrupt system to be together. But this isn't just a romantic gothic tale. The Italian is also a demonstration of the political powers and corrupted religions of its time. It is social commentary, a very insightful and literary one at that. First published in 1796, The Italian is Ann Radcliffe's last and most accomplished novel. To think that she began her writing career because she was bored while her husband traveled for work-related reasons! Well, she did her research and devoted a great deal of time to developing some good stories. This novel is better than her previous two because it doesn't contain as many poems and sonnets as her previous efforts. It's more straight-to-the-point, more showing than telling, much more action-packed and suspenseful. The gothic elements are awesome. You'll love this novel if you're a fan of the genre, especially if you're a fan of classic gothic stories. Take the plunge and read Radcliffe. You won't regret it.
  •     I have read many classic stories and picked this one up on the suggestion of a friend. This is not a bad book but it is not a great classic either. It is a good story that begins quickly into the plot and does not stop. However, the first half of the book does plot along but the second half moves at a much quicker pace. One is left wondering where the story will end or how the story will end. One wonders what is going to be the story of the leading lady and leading bad guy. Not much in the way of information comes in the first half of the book, but the answers come very quickly near the end. In fact, that is one of the drawbacks of the book - the book ends rather quickly. The characters are not much developed nor are there tangent story lines. This is a one dimensional story but a good one at that. The ending is easy to figure out but it does take a long way to get there. There are some twists and turns that are very good and unexpected. The stories by Willkie Collins are much better - Moonstone, Lady in White, No Name, Armadale and Basil. I would suggest those books over this one. With that being said, this is not a bad book to read if you have some extra time.
  •     Because I was spending 3 months teaching in Italy, I decided to read a number of books set there. Before choosing The Italian, I read about it, and about its author, Ann Radcliffe. I learned she was a contemporary of Jane Austen, is considered the founder of the gothic genre, and that Austen purportedly wrote Northanger Abbey as a parody of Radcliffe's gothic novels. That was enough to make me want to read The Italian. The writing is florid and overblown, and it took me about the first third to half of the book to really start to enjoy it. From that point forward, I became swept up in the story, and fascinated by historical details of the plot. Instead of irritated, I started to feel charmed by the language and style of writing. This book is definitely not for everyone, but if you enjoy historical fiction, romance, and the writing style of a different era, it may be for you.
  •     Ponderous and wordy but interesting knot

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