Mentioning Charlotte Smith yesterday, and her influence on Ann Radcliffe and the sentimental Gothic writers of the 1790s; it seems that Mrs Smith wasn’t entirely enamoured of the work of the great Mrs R.

We have to note the context of her comments, the fact that she lived in almost perpetual poverty, writing to support her large family.However,  when she found Radcliffe received a £500 advance for Udolpho from her publishers, a sum far greater than she was ever able to command she wrote that this was:

despite the novel being “tedious” with its “eternally recurring Landscapes”, “incidents borrowed” from other novels (including her own), “a very bungling catastrophe” – as a whole, despite some good settings “four volumes of impossible stuff”.

Possibly one of the worst critiques Udolpho received at the time ?

Gillian M Anderton (2008) An Analysis of the Preston Manor Letters.