‘The Arras’ is a passage from the early Gothic novel ‘The Romance of the Forest’, first published in 1791. Its author, Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823), is ranked among the pioneers of the genre. In her novels Radcliffe developed the technique of the ‘explained supernatural’, which had a strong influence on Edgar Allan Poe, Marquis de Sade and Sir Walter Scott and was mimicked by Honoré de Balzac in his early novel ‘L’Héritière de Birague’ (1822). By means of the ‘explained supernatural’ technique every seemingly supernatural event is eventually traced back to natural causes without disrupting the suspense of the story. Ann Radcliffe’s work can be seen as a blend of Neo-Classical rationality and Romantic passion.
Samuel Coleridge about ‘The Romance of the Forest’: ‘The attention is uninterruptedly fixed, until the veil is designedly withdrawn’. And Ed Sanders about ‘The Arras’: ‘Just as I was following it closely, and the door was discovered, then poof, it ended! I wanted more and more!’