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Uncle Silas: A Tale of Bartram-Haugh

de Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

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The most popular novel by Gothic mystery and thriller writer Sheridan Le Fanu, Uncle Silas is one of the first of the "locked room" mystery genre, and served as the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle's The Firm of Girdlestone. Teenage heiress Maud Ruthyn lives in a mansion with her withdrawn father. She slowly finds out that a man named Silas Ruthyn, a reprobate with a dark mysterious past, is her uncle, although he is now apparently a good Christian. Her uncle's mansion holds a locked room where a man to whom Silas owed a great deal of money allegedly took his own life. Maud's father is steadfast in upholding his brother's innocence, but Maud herself grows increasingly fearful and unsure.… (més)
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Anglès (28)  Suec (1)  Totes les llengües (29)
Es mostren 1-5 de 29 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Gothic, Victorian, horror story that is told in first person by the protagonist, a young girl named Maud and sole heir of the Ruthyn estate, besides her uncle and his progeny. Written in 1864. Ruthyn goes to live with her uncle at Bartram-Haugh, Derbyshire after her father's death. Uncle Silas reportedly was a rogue but is now changed and her father wished her to go to him, so she does. During her time with father she has a evil nanny who shows up again at Uncle Silas's. This novel has a well developed female characters and may have been influenced by Wilkie Collin's A Woman in White. ( )
  Kristelh | Dec 18, 2020 |
Started as a 2, bounced up to a 4, ended on a 3. Le Fanu is an excellent storyteller but at novel-length, he seems to falter, at least for me. I still say that 'In a Glass, Darkly' is his best work, a collection of five fantastic stories. ( )
  drew_asson | Dec 3, 2020 |
This is 19th century Irish author Sheridan Le Fanu's most well known full length novel, a mystery and "sensation" novel sometimes compared to Wilkie Collins's Woman in White. I must say, though, I didn't think this was in the same class as the Collins classic. While there are some interesting scenes and characters and a reasonable air of mystery was built up around the title character, I thought the novel lacked colour and depth. For me, not really a patch on the author's novella Carmilla, the original vampire story that inspired Bram Stoker. ( )
  john257hopper | Feb 18, 2020 |
I don't know why the Guardian's list of 1000 Novels has this book under 'Science Fiction and Fantasy'. There is nothing fantastical about it - it would more properly be described as a Gothic horror story, though the horror is very Victorian (not at all like the gruesome modern day horror stories). I would call it a suspense.

The atmosphere of terror and the plots laid for Maud Ruthyns, the heroine narrator, were very well done but Maud herself annoyed me. She was constantly referring to her timid nature which led her into some behaviors that were - to her - silly. That was okay - not my preference for a heroine but acceptable. It was her obstinate holding to the conviction that her Uncle Silas was a good man despite the history, the hints and worries from others, and even his own actions towards her that annoyed. Even after he had connived with Madame to separate her from her trusted maid Mary Quince and have her brought back to Bartram-Haugh secretly in the middle of the night and locked into a room with barred windows, she still believed that it was all Madame and her Uncle Silas would save her! If it wasn't for that, I would have given this 4*. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jan 17, 2020 |
Maud Ruthyn, the narrator, is a young woman not quite of age. Early in the book, her father places her under the care of a devious governess, Madame de la Rougierre, with unknown motivations. Madame torments Maud and her father doesn't appear to believe her when she begs for help. He does eventually discover the treachery and dismisses Madame. Shortly afterwards, Maud's father dies and her Uncle Silas, a marginalized member of the family, is made her sole guardian at the protest of her cousin. Maud is warned to guard herself. "But take it that you happen to die, Miss, during your minority. We are all mortal, and there are three years and some months to go."

Maud is essentially imprisoned at Bartram-Haugh by her uncle and cut off from family and friends. Madame de la Rougierre reappears locked away in Silas' home and Maud is told she was commissioned to "take Maud to France." Because of the duplicitous nature of the characters, we're never quite sure if they intend Maud harm. A sense of alarm and foreboding is protracted through the entire story with the final resolution waiting for the last few pages.

This is a great example of gothic horror and plays heavily on the themes of imprisonment and mental illness. Maud even begins to question whether she is sane. The novel is very similar in feel to Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre but this book is more suspenseful as the reader is always waiting for the shoe to drop and an attempt to be made on Maud's life.

Le Fanu never fails to provide a creepy tale. This is now one of my favorites. ( )
  pmtracy | Dec 17, 2019 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridanautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Bowen, ElizabethIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Longford, ChristineEditorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Sage, VictorIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Stewart, Charles WIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Varma, Devendra P.Introduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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TO THE RIGHT HON.
THE COUNTESS OF GIFFORD

AS A TOKEN OF RESPECT, SYMPATHY,
AND ADMIRATION
This Tale
IS INSCRIBED BY
THE AUTHOR
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It was winter - that is, about the second week of November - and great gusts were rattling at the windows, and wailing and thundering among our tall trees and ivied chimneys - a very dark night, and a cheerful fire blazing, a pleasant mixture of good round coal and spluttering dry wood, in a genuine old fireplace, in a sombre old room.
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One of the terrible dislocations of our habits of mind respecting the dead is that our earthly future is robbed of them, and we thrown exclusively upon retrospect. From the long look forward they are removed, and every plan, imagination, and hope henceforth a silent and empty perspective. But in the past they are all they ever were.
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The most popular novel by Gothic mystery and thriller writer Sheridan Le Fanu, Uncle Silas is one of the first of the "locked room" mystery genre, and served as the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle's The Firm of Girdlestone. Teenage heiress Maud Ruthyn lives in a mansion with her withdrawn father. She slowly finds out that a man named Silas Ruthyn, a reprobate with a dark mysterious past, is her uncle, although he is now apparently a good Christian. Her uncle's mansion holds a locked room where a man to whom Silas owed a great deal of money allegedly took his own life. Maud's father is steadfast in upholding his brother's innocence, but Maud herself grows increasingly fearful and unsure.

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