Victorian Popular Fictions 3.2 9 Bowers

Ghost Writers:

Radcliffiana and the Russian Gothic Wave


Katherine Bowers

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Ann Radcliffe’s novels were extremely popular in early nineteenth-century Russia. Publication of her work in Russian translation propelled the so-called gothic wave of 1800-10. Yet, many of the works Radcliffe was known for in Russia were not written by her; rather, they were works by others that were attributed  to  Radcliffe.  This  article  traces  the  publication  and  translation  histories  of  Radcliffiana  on the Russian book market of 1800-20. Building on JoEllen DeLucia’s concept of a “corporate Radcliffe” in the anglophone world, this article proposes a Russian corporate Radcliffe. Identifying, classifying, and analysing the provenance of Russian corporate Radcliffe works reveals insight into the transnational circulation of texts and the role of copyright law within it, the nature of the early nineteenth-century Russian book market, the rise of popular reading and advertising in Russia, and the gendered nature of critical discourse at this time. The Russian corporate Radcliffe assures the legacy and influence of Radcliffe in later Russian literature and culture, although a Radcliffe that represents much more than just the English author. Exploring the Russian corporate Radcliffe expands our understanding of early nineteenth-century Russian literary history through specific case studies that demonstrate the significant role played by both women writers and translation, an aspect of this history that is often overlooked.


Gothic fiction; Ann Radcliffe; Russian literature; translation; publication history; cultural transmission; textual circulation; French literature; English literature


Date of Acceptance: 8 December 2021

Date of Publication: 17 December 2021

Double Blind Peer Reviewed


Recommended Citation:

Bowers, Katherine. 2021. “Ghost Writers: Radcliffiana and the Russian Gothic Wave.” Victorian Popular Fictions, 3.2: 153-179.  ISSN: 2632-4253 (online) DOI:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.