Ann Radcliffe’s Life Described as ”Helpless Maiden” and the “(Un)Conventional Woman” in the Mysteries of Udolpho
Ertuğrul Koç – Tuğba Karabulut
Ann Radcliffe, an important pioneer of the Gothic genre, is the representative of her culture in terms of revealing the features of the male-dominant 18th century world as acceptable to her audience in The Mysteries of Udolpho. Dealing covertly with the validity of the established values of the patriarchal society, she hardly suggests alternative norms and behaviour types to women. Therefore, if analysed from the biographical and psychological perspectives, Radcliffe can be said to have constructed Emily, the major female character in Udolpho, like herself: Emily is committed to the masculine ideas (and ideals), and is submissive to patriarchal authority. By constructing such a character, Radcliffe, in fact, gives hints about her own life which we know little about. The parallelisms between the lives and viewpoints of Radcliffe and her heroine, indeed, unveil the author’s inner world and her wish fulfilment over the major character. Happy with the masculine civilization, her heroine, like herself, remains anodyne and unengaging.
Ann Radcliffe, Mysteries of Udolpho, patriarchy, aristocracy, bourgeoisie, helpless maiden, wish fulfilment