Group: Andrea, Robin, Mark, Weston


Thesis: Radcliffe’s two novels, The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian both address a ruling Protestant belief which stated that Catholicism suppressed an independence of conscience and promoted superstition and idolatry, which in turn was thought to have kept people in a state of ignorant compliance.


-Before the 18c. “mysteries” were typically seen as religious and most often Catholic.

            Ex: Resurrection of Christ, Holy Trinity.


-Since most people received a “spiritual education” on which to model their lives, a belief in the supernatural would have constituted a large part of their rationale.


-Annette vs. Emily in Udolpho: Emily is able to question supernatural occurrences because she has received a“rational” education from St. Aubert.

Ex. pp 629: “Who are you speaking of?”

On the other hand, Annette can only rely on her spiritual education and faith to explain the world around her. She does not question the mysterious occurrences at Udolpho or the Chateau-Le-Blanc because it would throw her entire belief system into question.

Ex. pp 630: “had he arisen from the grave”

(On Ludovico’s return, Annette alludes to his reappearance resembling Lazarus’s resurrection in the New Testament).


-Catholic beliefs and religious symbols are often portrayed in a seemingly empty or corrupt fashion.

            Ex. Udolpho: icons and the importance of the “cross” are presented as decorative pieces with only an aesthetic function.

            Pp 54: “on its brow a monumental cross”

       -Monks and nuns also seem to function solely as picturesque bodies rather than emblems of religious authority.

       Italian: Schedoni and the Abbess of San Stefano are both manipulative and scheming.


-If “brainwashing” fails, was execution!


            -Udolpho: Montoni (Italian and implied Catholic)

              He tries to suppress Emily’s actions and speech while keeping her ignorant of 

              the outside world. While Emily is under Montoni’s power her

              superstitions run rampant. She begins to fear for her safety.

            Ex. Madame Montoni’s health/murder, reasons for new fortifications at Udolpho

            -Italian: Inquisition acts as main method of suppression. It oversees the “Law of the Father” (fuses religion and family).



-Radcliffe presents two models of Ecclesiastical government.


            Udolpho: acts as a surrogate family to Emily, tends not to interfere (Is this meant as a Protestant model?)

            Ex: Abbess doesn’t impose her knowledge on Emily, only guides her to a fuller understanding.

Italian: doubles feudal hierarchy and tyranny

            Ex: Elaborate dinner party at San Stefano

                   Inquisition: instils fear/terror, executes those who deviate from church law