Mysteries Of Udolpho · Reading Challenges · Tuesday Reflections

Mysteries – Preconceptions

First apologies for late posting today the monster had his first day of school (well morning the stagger the start) and he loved it and can’t wait to go back tomorrow.  The daughter came and got the rest of her stuff except my desk chair which she was intent on pinching but her boyfriend forgot it hehehe looks like I keep my chair and she will have to buy a new one.  The exodus of her belongings meant I spent the afternoon moving toys into her room and setting it up for the monster, we still have a few pieces missing for his fortress, well I think they are, I really regret not keeping the instructions but it seemed easy after I had done it once turns out it was not so simple 8 months later.


So today is the day I start reading The Mysteries of Udolopho by Ann Radcliffe and I thought it would be interesting to actually think about why I have put this off so long.  I bought the book years ago and it has wallowed in my TBR pile despite the fact I wanted to read it so here are my thoughts.

1) The copy I bought…I bought it second-hand from a charity shop and it is a republished copy in that when it was bound the introduction is repeated at the end of the book after the story finishes.  I know it shouldn’t bother me but for some reason finishing in the middle of the book seems wrong.  I have The World’s Classics version printed in 1988 but it actually looks far older if I am honest and the print is tiny, in an attempt to get round this I have downloaded it for free from Amazon onto the Kindle which is not very well at the minute (monster tried playing with it) so I will have to start with the paper version at least.

2) The cover…

Now I know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but let’s be honest of course we do and this one gets rather overlooked amongst all my new brightly coloured more recent purchases.  printing techniques have come a long way in a few short years and I seriously doubt any publisher would pick this as a cover today.

3)  Fear of disappointment, this is a book which Jane Austen read, it inspired Northanger Abbey, so what if I hate it?  Will it mar my enjoyment of Austen’s work?  Will I think less of her if I think it boring or farcical?  I love Austen’s work and cannot imagine it will but there is still trepidation at seeing her not as a genius but as a woman who loved reading.  I have devoured my own share of chick lit and found guilty pleasure in places I would never admit to reading but I think it is the fact this shaped her writing which gives it greater importance.

4) Will it live up to the hype?  The books of this genre were considered scandalous and thought to corrupt young women’s minds.  Now I fully accept I am well beyond being corrupted but what if it has no substance other than what would have been a secret thrill for the Regency reader, I want it to be good so badly that I fear my expectations may be too high.

So I am off to read now, is there a book you have put off reading and why? Please share your thoughts

6 thoughts on “Mysteries – Preconceptions

  1. I read this last fall and enjoyed it. There were parts that let me down a little, but if you can empty your mind and just enjoy the ride I think you’ll like it. I plan on reading Northanger Abbey this fall so we can compare notes.


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