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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 47.djvu/126

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mitted at Gray's Inn on 12 Nov. 1669 (Foster, Gray's Inn Admission Register). He was not called to the bar, but seems to have deserted the legal profession for the army, in which he had attained the rank of captain in 1696. He was a disciple of the Earl of Rochester in verse, and rivalled his master in ribaldry. He published:

  1. ‘Ovid Travestie, a mock Poem on five Epistles of Ovid,’ 16mo, 1673 (Gaisford Library Sale Catalogue). This, the first edition, was ignored when the book was reprinted, 4to, 1680, 1681, 1696 (with additions), and 1705.
  2. ‘Bacchanalia Cœlestia: a Poem, in praise of Punch, compos'd by the Gods and Goddesses in Cabal,’ London, 1680, fol. broadside. Reprinted in the ‘Ramble,’ &c.
  3. ‘The Ramble: an anti-heroick Poem. Together with some Terrestrial Hymns and Carnal Ejaculations,’ London, 1682, 8vo. Part of ‘The Ramble’ had previously appeared in the edition of Rochester's Poems which bears the imprint Antwerp, 1680. Nos. 1 (3rd edit.) and 3 were reissued with a general title, ‘The Works of Capt. Alexander Radcliffe,’ in 1696, 2 pts. (London, 8vo).

[Hunter's Chorus Vatum, Addit. MS. 24490, fol. 247; Nichols's Select Collection of Poems, i. 141, iii. 163.]

G. T. D.

RADCLIFFE, ANN (1764–1823), novelist, the only daughter of William and Ann Ward, was born in London on 9 July 1764. Her father was in trade, but she was connected on his side with the family of William Cheselden [q. v.], the famous surgeon, and more remotely with the Dutch family of De Witt. Her mother, whose maiden name was Oates, was niece of Dr. Samuel Jebb [q. v.], and first cousin of Sir Richard Jebb [q. v.], physician to George III. Great part of her youth was passed in the society of relatives in easy circumstances; she was particularly noticed by Bentley, the partner of Josiah Wedgwood [q. v.], and she met at his house, among others, Mrs. Piozzi, Mrs. Montagu, and ‘Athenian Stuart.’ At the age of twenty-three she married, at Bath, William Radcliffe, an Oxonian, and a student of law, who abandoned his intention of being called to the bar, and subsequently became proprietor and editor of the ‘English Chronicle.’

Her first novel, ‘The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne,’ a short story of little merit, appeared in 1789, and was followed in the ensuing year by ‘A Sicilian Romance,’ which Scott considers the first modern English example of the poetical novel, and of which several Italian versions have appeared. The interest, however, depended entirely upon incident and description, to which in its successor, ‘The Romance of the Forest’ (London, 1791, 12mo), something like a study of the effect of circumstance upon character was added. ‘The Romance of the Forest’ reached a fourth edition by 1795, and was translated into French and Italian, while a dramatised version, by John Boaden, entitled ‘Fountainville Forest,’ appeared in 1794. Its success paved the way for ‘The Mysteries of Udolpho, a Romance interspersed with some pieces of Poetry’ (London, 1794, 4 vols. 12mo), for which the publisher offered what was then the unprecedented sum of 500l. Conscious of her strength, Mrs. Radcliffe had adopted a broader and more ambitious style of treatment. ‘The Mysteries of Udolpho’ was translated into French by Chastenay, and proved the most popular of novels. Its success was such that she obtained 800l. for her next novel, ‘The Italian, or the Confessional of the Black Penitents’ (London, 1797, 3 vols. 12mo), a romance of the inquisition, usually regarded as her best work. It was received with enthusiasm at home. Badly dramatised by John Boaden as the ‘Italian Monk,’ it was produced at the Haymarket on 15 Aug. 1797 (Genest, vii. 323); it was, moreover, immediately translated into French by the Abbé Morellet. From this time Mrs. Radcliffe wrote no more, except the little-known novel of ‘Gaston de Blondeville, or the Court of Henry III keeping Festival in Ardenne’ (London, 1826, 4 vols. 8vo), composed in 1802, but not published until after her death, whence it may perhaps be inferred that she considered it unworthy of her powers. It was, however, translated into French by Defauconpret, the translator of Scott, in 1826, and it is interesting because in it the author has recourse not to the supernatural naturally explained, but to the actual supernatural, a method which Scott regretted that she had not followed, unaware that she had actually attempted it.

After her retirement from the world of letters Mrs. Radcliffe lived almost unknown to her literary contemporaries, amusing herself with the occasional composition of poetry, and delighting in the long carriage excursions she was accustomed to make with her husband in the summer months. She had already (1795) published an account of ‘A Journey made in the Summer of 1794 through Holland and the Western Frontier of Germany,’ which is rich in pictorial description, and also in political and economical observations, probably contributed by her husband. She also made copious notes of her English excursions, specimens of which, admirable as pieces of description, were incorporated in the memoir prefixed to ‘Gaston