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Word Count: 1,537
In Ann Radcliffes The Italian the very first thing that we see described is a veiled womanIt was in the church of San Lorenzo at Naples in the year 1758 that Vincentio di Vivaldi first saw Ellena di Rosalba The sweetness and fine expression of her voice attracted his attention to her figure which had a distinguished air of delicacy and grace but her face was concealed in her veil So much was he fascinated by the voice that a most painful curiosity was excited as to her countenance which he fancied must express all the sensibility of character that the modulation of her tones indicated 5 Even without knowing anything about Gothic elements this indicates very clearly what the quality and tone of the book are going to be like Vivaldis pursuit of the veiled woman is a signal that his is the pursuit of the mysterious with the certainty that it will be beautiful This certainly does seem to be a great fascination in the novel it is a component and often a catalyst for that anxiety which runs throughout It is this anxiety which causes the heightening of our emotions our emotions are heightened as we watch the characters pursuit of the mysterious and our curiosity is excited more and more until we are nearly begging for its gratification But Radcliffe heightens our emotions without satisfying our curiosity or at least not enough For example the very first chapter establishes a sense of mystery about the assassin in the Church The Englishman inquires as much for himself as for us about the assassin His concern and state of shock invoke our own inquiry into this odd circumstance and then his Italian friend tells him a mystery without actually telling him anythingHe the assassin sought sanctuary here replied the friar within these walls he may not be hurt2 He makes it clear that there is a story here but
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