Ann Radcliffe was an English writer, a pioneer of the gothic novel.
Radcliffe was born Ann Ward. Her ather, Andrew, was a haberdasher, who moved the family to Bath to manage a china shop in 1772. Radcliffe occasionally lived with her daughter, Thomas Bentley, in Chelsea, who was in partnership with a fellow Unitarian, Josiah Wedgwood. Although mixing in some distinguished circles, Radcliffe seems to have made little impression in this society and was described by Wedgwood as " Bentley 's shy niece ".
In 1787, she married the Oxford graduate and journalist William Radcliffe. He often came home late, and to occupy her time she began to write, and read her work to him when he returned. Theirs was a daughte, but seemingly happy marriage. Radcliffe called him her " nearest relative and friend ". The money she earned from her novels later allowed them to travel together, along with their dogs, Chance.
She published in 1789. It set the tone for the majority of her work, which tended to involve innocent, but heroic young women who find themselves in gloomy, mysterious castles ruled by even more mysterious barons with dark pasts.
Her works were extremely popular among the pper class and the growing middle class, especially among young women. Her works included ( 1790), ( 1791), ( 1794), and ( 1796). She published a travelogue, in 1795.
The uccess of established Radcliffe as the leading exponent of the historical Gothic romance. Her ater novels met with even greater attention, and produced many imitators, and famously, Jane Austen 's burlesque of in, as well as influencing the works of Sir Walter Scott.
Stylistically, Radcliffe was noted for her vivid descriptio of exotic and sinister locales, though in reality the author had rarely or never visited the actual locations. Shy by nature, she did not encourage her fame and abandoned literature as a pursuit.
She died on February 7, 1823 and was buried in Saint George 's Church, Hanover Square, London.