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First published in 1791, Ann Radcliffe's "The Romance of the Forest," is a classic Gothic novel, a suspenseful mystery that examines the tension between hedonism and morality. An instant success for the author, this novel would establish Radcliffe's as the preeminent author of romances of her era. While Radcliffe's work was similar in many respects to her Gothic predecessors her work differed fundamentally in its breadth of development of her characters. The story concerns Monsieur Pierre de la Motte and his wife, Madame Constance de la Motte, who having fallen into financial troubles and are fleeing Paris in order to escape their debts. While "The Romance of the Forest" is not generally regarded as in the same league as "The Italian" and "The Mysteries of Udolpho," it was Radcliffe's first major literary success and would propel her career. Radcliffe's influence would be profound, helping greatly to establish literary validity for the Gothic genre.

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