One of the most popular and imitated novelists of her day, yet reticent about publicity, Ann Radcliffe was admired by celebrated literary contemporaries such as Austen, Scott, Coleridge, Shelley, Byron, and Keats. Born Ann Ward, she spent much of her girlhood with relatives who enjoyed strong contacts within the major circles of religious dissent. She probably received little formal education but enjoyed reading, and her later journals show her appreciation for nature and some knowledge of art, recent literature, and the major aesthetic theories. Family connections may have brought her into contact with such notable literary women as Hester Thrale, Elizabeth Montagu, and Anna Barbauld. In 1784 she married William Radcliffe, an Oxford graduate trained for the bar but turned journalist with republican sympathies. The couple settled in London, where they enjoyed the pleasures of urban life varied with travels to picturesque destinations in England and abroad.
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- Ann Ward Radcliffe (1764–1823)
Mary A. Waters
- Macmillan Education UK
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