Guide Uncle Silas

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While it includes gothic elements and has a number of flaws , The Woman in White has a much more complex plot and considerably more sophisticated characterisation. In addition, although it has a rather annoying heroine, The Woman in White does at least have one very superior female character - the truly wonderful Marian Halcombe. None of the female characters in this novel come anywhere close to her brilliance. Recommended for those with an interest in Victorian writers and the evolution of gothic fiction, this novel may not appeal very much to other readers.

View all 11 comments. Uncle Silas was from this genre. The plot of the novel seems quite simple, Maud Ruthyn is a rich heiress, daughter of an eccentric recluse. He dies and places her in the guardianship of her Uncle Silas. The plot thickens,of course, and it ends up being a spine tingling Gothic story with hints everywhere of the supernatural.

I had never read anything else by him but his writing style reminds me somewhat of Wilkie Collins and The Woman in White. Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, the renowned gothic novelist, was born in Dublin in His vampire novella Carmella is known to have directly influenced Bram Stoker's Dracula, among others.

It is, however, his tales of the supernatural for which he is best remembered. View all 7 comments. Apr 22, Marvin rated it liked it Shelves: This 19th century novel is considered an icon of Gothic horror. That it is, but it can also be seen as an early model of psychological horror. Le Fanu excels in characterization and in slowly molding his characters into either a standard of virtue as he does for poor little Maude, or a model of villainy as he does for the title character. While the novel occasionally hints of ghosts, there are no supernatural events.

It has a lot in common with Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White but is not nearl This 19th century novel is considered an icon of Gothic horror. Nonetheless, Uncle Silas has plenty of eerie moments and an heroine that would make any staunch young British heiress very proud. Nov 13, Nicola rated it it was amazing Shelves: This was a wonderfully engaging read which I have to say was a bit of a surprise. Considering the time period it was written in and the fact that it is a famous 'gothic' horror novel I was braced for fainting and hysterical heroines, supernatural mysteries and a plot improbable enough to make Walpole proud the author of The Castle of Otranto.

I was also listening to an audio reading from librivox and I wasn't expecting to be able to stomach it as I don't have a particularly high opinion of the This was a wonderfully engaging read which I have to say was a bit of a surprise. I was also listening to an audio reading from librivox and I wasn't expecting to be able to stomach it as I don't have a particularly high opinion of the quality of those recordings. In all things I was pleasantly surprised. The audio wasn't great but the reader didn't change and I got used to his rather flat delivery. It certainly didn't take away from my enjoyment anyway.

The plot was suitably eerie but relied on atmosphere and psychological means to create the horror rather than supernatural effects or straight out violence and gore. I think this might have been one of the earliest gothic novels to do this and it was extremely effective.

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Along with the heroine I continually wondered 'who am I able to trust? Every persons actions and motives were scrutinised, as, like her, I had nothing other than my own perceptions to guide me. But the heroine herself was the biggest shock; she wasn't exactly kick arse but she had a definite will of her own and when her back was really against the wall she fought like a tigress to save herself rather than wilting up like a flower in traditional gothic horror style. I'm not saying that there weren't times I didn't want to reach into the pages of the novel and give her a good shake at one point in particular I thought 'look it would be so easy, all you'd have to do is I was on the metaphorical edge of my seat over the last few pages, almost holding my breath it was so exciting.

I think listening to it on audio made it even more explosive as I couldn't increase the speed at which I read, I could only proceed along at the same torturous pace, heart palpitations be damned. Apr 27, Ali rated it really liked it. Le Fanu was an Irish writer of gothic fiction, in his time he was a leading writer of ghost stories, although is probably now best known for his novels of mystery and horror.

As a younger man Silas was involved in a scandal and suspected of a terrible crime. Living in quiet seclusion at Bartram-Haugh in Derbyshire with his son and daughter, Silas is victim to frequent catatonic fits apparently brought about by his overuse of opium. For Madame de la Rougierre is a very odd woman, deceitful, bullying constantly spying on Maud and her father, Maud comes quickly to fear her. Following a couple of peculiar and frightening encounters while out walking with Madam, encounters Maud entirely suspects Madam of having orchestrated, her fear is only increased.

Much to the relief of Maud and her old faithful servant Mary Quince, Madam leaves the Ruthyn home under a cloud. However things are destined to get a lot worse for poor Maud, when her affectionate old father dies. Should Maud die in that time, her entire fortune would be transferred to Silas. While some of the servants are rude and difficult, Maud finds her Uncle kind to begin with, although she sees little of him. Later her unpleasant boorish cousin Dudley arrives home, again looking for money, and in him Maud is terrified to find a man she first met in the company of Madam de la Rougeierre.


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Uncle Silas is great piece of Victorian sensation fiction, with its first person narrative, locked cabinets, old scandals, inheritances, abductions, dark passageways, and the mysterious arrival of carriages in the dead of night. Silas is a very different character to that of the brilliant Count Fosco — a small, opium taking invalid, living in seclusion; he is quietly chilling and unpleasant.

Le Fanu knew well how to hook his readers, and create suspense, and in this novel does so brilliantly. Aug 07, shan Littlebookcove rated it liked it. It's just disappointing that Le Fanu doesn't have the same reputation as many other classic Victorian writer's. This story tells the tale of a young and Naive Maud Ruthyn, whose father's death leaves her under the care of the mysterious uncle of the story's title. One of the most striking points about this book is that apart from a few scattered incidents and a wonderfully melodramatic ending very little happens! I found myself hooked on this book because of the tension of what was going to happen, but the ending left me with A sense of "is that it??

Oct 08, Paul rated it it was amazing. 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. M Maud Ruthyn, the narrator, is a young woman not quite of age. Maud is warned to guard herself.

[Psychological Horror Audiobook] Uncle Silas, Part 1 (by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu)

We are all mortal, and there are three years and some months to go. Madame de la Rougierre reappears locked away in Silas' home and Maud is told she was commissioned to "take Maud to France. 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.

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Le Fanu never fails to provide a creepy tale. This is now one of my favorites.


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  • Terrific Gothic atmosphere and aura of menace. Maud Ruthyn, the heroine of the tale, is an orphan who comes to live with the titular uncle, and she enlists the reader's full empathy from the get-go. We and she both know that her uncle is a murderous villain, but of course to outside eyes he is an upright Victorian gentleman, or should I say reformed gentleman -- his unsavory past is not, it seems, in the past at all, even though he puts on religious trappings.

    And thus one of the themes of the Terrific Gothic atmosphere and aura of menace. And thus one of the themes of the novel, which I quite liked, was religious hypocrisy. Maud has unfortunately been conditioned to obey her elders especially male elders , and so much of what drives the tale is her gradual enlightenment -- it's psychologically engrossing.

    LeFanu is a master at this sort of dark, atmospheric and convoluted tale. Another master, of course, was Wilkie Collins, who likewise excelled at creating "respectable" villains. I'm a huge fan of LeFanu's classic ghost stories, and it was a revelation to me that he could sustain such a pitch of suspense over an entire novel.

    Mar 14, Matthew Hunter rated it really liked it Shelves: I can't say I've often wondered what the offspring of the movie Deliverance and Bronte's Wuthering Heights might resemble.

    Uncle Silas, by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

    But now I know-- Uncle Silas. The residents of Bartram-Haugh are more hillbilly than Jethro Clampett, and at least as dangerous as the guy who tells Ned Beatty to "squeal like a pig. A priceless character almost as colorful as Wilkie Collins' Count Fosco. Despicable Madame does things like threaten to break pinkies to get he I can't say I've often wondered what the offspring of the movie Deliverance and Bronte's Wuthering Heights might resemble.

    Despicable Madame does things like threaten to break pinkies to get her way. The Governess' scowl lingers throughout the story, even when Madame is hundreds of miles distant from the narration. It's all about bad, murderous decisions that mount one upon another. Early on, our heroine Maud lifts up mechanistic rather than supernatural explanations for suffering: There is no dealing with great sorrow as if it were under the control of our wills. It is a terrible phenomenon, whose laws we must study, and to whose conditions we must submit, if we would mitigate it.

    Other than a flurry of Swedenborgianisms mid-story, the materialistic view of the universe holds till Maud grasps frantically for supernatural explanations at the end: This world is a parable--the habitation of symbols--the phantoms of spiritual things immortal shown in material shape. May the blessed second-sight be mine--to recognize under these beautiful forms of earth the ANGELS who wear them; for I am sure we may walk with them if we will, and hear them speak!

    Is that our Maud? Whatever the case, Maud's terrifying ordeal leads her to plumb the supernatural depths for answers. Uncle Silas is a parable for our own fundamentalist era. Mixed in all of this misery, blood and chicanery is a healthy amount of humor. There's Silas describing his buffoon of a son Dudley: Milly's a very funny character. I missed her the last third of the story! And what about Le Fanu's somewhat humorous disdain for religious movements like Swedenborgianism and Methodism? Being Methodist clergy, I giggled when Silas' long gray locks were compared to those of Methodism's founder John Wesley.

    Was Le Fanu a Church of Englander wary of newer, more charismatic religious movements? Or does his eschewing of the supernatural and his suspect treatment of Jews, Methodists, and Swedenborgians signal a disdain for all religious observance? Not sure, but I did enjoy Le Fanu's humorous side. Milly's disappearance in the story provides evidence for why I did not give Uncle Silas five stars. For my taste, Le Fanu leaves a few too many loose ends. I wanted to know more about the resemblances between questionable actors at Knowl and Bartram-Haugh. Did scheming on the Ruthyn fortune begin well before Maud left Knowl?

    Clearly Madame's relationship with Silas and Dudley Ruthyn goes back quite some time. How did she get to know them? Why does she appear so hellbent on connecting Dudley and Maud even before we meet Silas in the story? There's so much ambiguity in the depiction of relationships. What in the world's really wrong with these people?

    Maybe I should embrace the lingering doubts and open questions. Le Fanu must have meant to leave me guessing.

    Connect a few more bloody dots next time. I'm rambling due to fatigue, so I'll end here.

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    By all means read Uncle Silas for the smattering of humor, the darkness, and the beautiful descriptions of Silas, Madame, and the grounds of Bartram-Haugh. Avoid if you want an airtight, clearly drawn conclusion. May 12, Kathrin rated it really liked it Shelves: This book truly surprised me. Uncle Silas is the story of Maud, an heiress to a big fortune who lives alone with her father. Her uncle is a This book truly surprised me. Her uncle is a distant figure to her who after a life of gambling and being accused of murder-ing a man in his house takes refuge in religion.

    The character if Maud was really easy for me to relate to. Despite a few flaws I started to hope for her to find a happy ending at the beginning of the book.

    My Uncle Silas

    I guess it was one of those times it actually clicked for me. I liked her character a lot. He presents himself as a victim to society and mourns the bad situation his chil-dren are supposed to live with. The film was shot at Denham Studios with sets by the art director Ralph Brinton. The costumes were designed by Elizabeth Haffenden.

    Caroline Ruthyn is the teenage niece of her elderly uncle Silas, a sickly and at one time unbalanced man who becomes her guardian on the death of her father. The fact that Silas is broke and greedy and young Caroline is the heir to her father's vast fortune is reason enough for Caroline to be wary, but her fears increase when she meets Silas's perverted son and when she discovers that her fearsome former governess, Madame de la Rougierre, is working with her uncle From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Whilst Ned is sent into the garden to pick fruit, she Get the best new trailers in under a minute, including Avengers: Endgame and " The Umbrella Academy.

    I love watching My Uncle Silas, it's a great drama series, i first watched it in January , so i missed a couple of series, i got right into it and when it was advertised on tv, i thought to my self that this programme will be great and i watched the 6 episodes from a series for and it was enjoyable. Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video. Start your free trial. Find showtimes, watch trailers, browse photos, track your Watchlist and rate your favorite movies and TV shows on your phone or tablet! Keep track of everything you watch; tell your friends.

    Full Cast and Crew. Five stories by H. Bates about a roguish English countryman.