The Castle of Otranto

Front Cover
Penguin, 2001 - Fiction - 159 pages
372 Reviews
On the day of his wedding, Conrad, heir to the house of Otranto, is killed in mysterious circumstances. Fearing the end of his dynasty, his father, Manfred, determines to marry Conrad's betrothed, Isabella, until a series of supernatural events stands in his way. . . .

Set in the time of the crusades, The Castle of Otranto (1764) established the Gothic as a literary form in England. With its compelling blend of psychological realism and supernatural terror, guilty secrets and unlawful desires, it has influenced a literary tradition stretching from Ann Radcliffe and Bram Stoker to Daphne Du Maurier and Stephen King.

This Penguin Classics edition includes a full selection of early responses to the novel, as well as a critical introduction, chronology of Walpole's life and works, suggestions for further reading, and full explanatory notes.

"[Walpole] is the father of the first romance and surely worthy of a higher place than any living writer." (Lord Byron)

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Easy to read and hilarious. - Goodreads
A bit difficult to read at times and very hectic plot. - Goodreads
God the writing style. - Goodreads
The plot rambled and rambled. - Goodreads
The premise of the story is excellent. - Goodreads
Very complex novel because of the archaic writing. - Goodreads

Review: The Castle of Otranto

User Review  - Liz - Goodreads

This book was written in the 1700s as a gothic thriller. It has a villain, a couple of people in disguise and some characterful women. The book 'moves along' at somewhat breathless pace and could do ... Read full review

Review: The Castle of Otranto

User Review  - Michael A - Goodreads

I'm going to agree wit the negative reviewers - this is a book that hasn't aged well, is completely silly in every way, and only important in that it was supposedly the first Gothic novel ever written ... Read full review


Further Reading
A Note on the Text
The Castle of Otranto
Early Responses to The Castle of Otranto

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About the author (2001)

Horace Walpole (1717-97), 4th Earl of Orford, was the son of the Whig Prime Minister, Robert Walpole. In 1747 he moved to Strawberry Hill in Twickenham, which he transformed into his "little Gothic castle". He was at the centre of literary and political society and an arbiter of taste. He is remembered for his witty letters to a wide circle of friends.Michael Gamer is Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of 'Romanticism and the Gothic' (CUP, 2000).

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