Gaston de Blondeville, Or, The Court of Henry III Keeping Festival in Ardenne

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Valancourt Books, 2006 - Fiction - 255 pages
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King Henry III is holding court at Kenilworth. Festivities abound, wine flows copiously, and spirits are high as the King and his subjects prepare to celebrate the nuptials of Sir Gaston de Blondeville. But the joyous mood is interrupted when a merchant, Hugh Woodreeve, comes distraught before the King to demand justice. His kinsman, he claims, was murdered, by the very man the King has come to honour -- Gaston de Blondeville! Suspecting a conspiracy against Gaston, yet obliged to hold a trial to determine the truth of the allegations, Henry imprisons Woodreeve in a tower while awaiting a hearing. Meanwhile, sinister forces are at work, represented by an evil abbot, who will stop at nothing to ensure the truth behind Woodreeve's claims is never revealed. As the trial unfolds and the danger mounts for both Woodreeve and Gaston, a mysterious figure will come from beyond the grave to elucidate the horrible mystery! The only one of Radcliffe's novels to feature a real ghost, "Gaston de Blondeville" was published posthumously in 1826. This edition, the first-ever scholarly edition of the novel, features a new introduction by Frances Chiu, uncoding the novel's long-hidden political, historical, and religious contexts. A wealth of supplementary materials, including excerpts from other primary texts and the complete text of contemporary reviews, is also provided to enhance modern readers' understanding of the novel's themes.

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Glossary of Names and Places in the Novel
Historical Background
Thematic Background

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About the author (2006)

Ann Radcliffe was born Ann Ward in England on July 9, 1764. She was the only child of William Ward and Anne Oates Ward. In 1788 she married William Radcliffe. They had no children. Ann published The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne in 1789. Other works include A Sicilian Romance, The Romance of the Forest, The Mysteries of Udolpho, and The Italian. She found much success with The Romance of the Forest and it established her as a Gothic novelist. Her later novels influenced other authors including Jane Austen, Sir Walter Scott, and Mary Wollstonecraft. She died on February 7, 1823 from respiratory problems.

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