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Black Penitents

"Although it was the scene of great empires and flourishing trade for over two millennia, Afghanistan did not become a truly independent nation until the twentieth century. For centuries a zone of conflict among strong neighboring powers, the area’s heterogeneous groups were not bound into a single political entity until the reign of the brilliant Ahmad Shah Durrani, who in 1747 founded the monarchy that ruled the country until 1973. After his death, the absence of a strong successor possessed of military and political skills resulted in the temporary disintegration of the kingdom he had created, a frequent pattern in the society’s history."

"First published in 1797, "The Italian" is a classic example of Gothic romance. The narrative centres on Radcliffe's sinister creation - the monk Schedoni, whose past is shrouded in mystery. This expanded edition explores the novel in the context of British attitudes in the late 18th century."

"The Italian was Radcliffe's last novel. It is about a nobleman who falls in love with a woman whose identity is unknown to herself and the reader throughout her sufferings. She is oppressed by many people in whose hands she falls as she is snatched away from the nobleman Vivaldi to prevent their marriage. Like all of Radcliffe's heroines, her character is marked by an amazing fortitude despite the horrifying things to which she is frequently subjected. Vivaldi faces the powers of the Inquisition and Radcliffe gives the reader some idea of their dealings with offenders and their ways of making prisoners "confess.""

Group Information

  • 20
  • Afghanistan
  • Jul 5, 2006
  • English

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