06 September 2018

Review: The Romance of the Forest by Ann Radcliffe

Trade paperback, 397 pages
Published 2009 (originally 1791)
Acquired and read December 2017
The Romance of the Forest by Ann Radcliffe
'It is the first proof of a superior mind to liberate itself from prejudices of country, or of education.' (222)
I read this because it was suggested to me that in the works of Ann Radcliffe and Maria Edgeworth I might find those female scientists I often claim did not exist in fiction until the 1880s. Well, I don't think they're to be found in this Gothic novel, either. Adeline may be educated in what we now call sciences, and even in clear thinking, but she is by no means a scientist, or even a (wo)man of science, and her clear thinking isn't linked to any kind of scientific training.

Outside of the science stuff, I didn't find much to enjoy here. Some mildly atmospheric bits, but man much of the rest of it is tedious. Hurry up Victorian realism, make novels palatable.

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