The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story [eBook]

Horace Walpole

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The Castle of Otranto (1764) is the first supernatural English novel and one of the most influential works of Gothic fiction. It inaugurated a literary genre that will be forever associated with the effects that Walpole pioneered. Professing to be a translation of a mysterious Italian tale from the darkest Middle Ages, the novel tells of Manfred, prince of Otranto, whose fear of an ancient prophecy sets him on a course of destruction.

After the grotesque death of his only son, Conrad, on his wedding day, Manfred determines to marry the bride-to-be. The virgin Isabella flees through a castle riddled with secret passages. Chilling coincidences, ghostly visitations, arcane revelations, and violent combat combine in a heady mix that is both chilling and terrifying.


"Frederick Frank brings together Walpole's controversial play The Mysterious Mother and his seminal Gothic novel The Castle of Otranto in this authoritative edition. Frank's masterly introduction transports the modern reader back to a fresh appreciation of Walpolian 'gloomth.' The edition is an indispensable addition to every Gothicist's book-shelf as well as an invaluable text for students, scholars, and general readers alike." -- Marie Mulvey-Roberts, University of the West of England, Bristol
"A valuable tool for any scholar of the Gothic, and especially of Walpole, this book includes a chronology of Walpole's life and work, a collection of his correspondence, responses and reactions to the texts, and a guide to the aesthetic and intellectual backgrounds influencing both texts." -- Eighteenth-Century Fiction

About the Author

Horatio Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford (24 September 1717 – 2 March 1797) was an English art historian, man of letters, antiquarian and Whig politician.

He is now largely remembered for Strawberry Hill, the home he built in Twickenham, south-west London where he revived the Gothic style some decades before his Victorian successors, and for his Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto. Along with the book, his literary reputation rests on his Letters, which are of significant social and political interest.

He was the son of the first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, a cousin[2] to Admiral Lord Nelson's grandmother, and was equally known as Horace Walpole. As he was childless, his barony descended to his cousin of the same surname, who was created the new Earl of Orford.

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