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The Mysteries of Udolpho - Ann Radcliffe I'm reading an abridged version of The Mysteries of Udolpho, having been warned that it's unnecessarily long (and poorly written); but I think I'll have to switch to the unabridged version. My abridged version chopped out so much content that I have no idea how Emily got into Montoni's castle and wouldn't have known Aubert had died if I hadn't seen it beforehand.

I don't know if this was Ann Radcliffe's first work, but I think she simply had no idea how to write prose. The entire text up to the point I'm at is too much poetry and not enough prose content; and the pleasant but extremely vague descriptions of all physical surroundings make it painfully obvious that Radcliffe had never visited France and probably knew nothing about it, and had probably only read about Italy. She more or less created some foreign places out of her imagination and slapped the names "France" and "Italy" onto them; they would have been better as fictional lands, because as depicted by Radcliffe, that's what they are. (I should mention that I haven't visited France or Italy myself, and don't know from experience that the environments in France and Italy don't resemble what Radcliffe claims.)

I have abandoned this book. It's boring and I had gotten so far only because I don't like not finishing what I start.