Ann Radcliffe was born Ann Ward. She married William Radcliffe. They had no children, and with her husband's encouragement, she wrote fiction to amuse herself. Her Gothic novels, which were extremely popular, tend to involve innocent but heroic young women who find themselves in gloomy, mysterious castles at the mercy of complicated men. They influenced Sir Walter Scott and were parodied by Jane Austen. Radcliffe died in 1823 pneumonia.