ISBN : 9780198704447
New to this Edition:
'Look, my lord! See heaven itself declares against your impious intentions!'
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 terrified the novel's first readers.
In this new edition Nick Groom examines the reasons for its extraordinary impact and the Gothic culture from which it sprang. The Castle of Otranto was a game-changer, and Walpole the writer who paved the way for modern horror exponents.
Note on the Text
A Chronology of Horace Walpole
Preface to the First Edition
Preface to the Second Edition
Sonnet to the Right Honourable Lady Mary Coke
THE CATLE OF OTRANTO
Appendix: Gothic Contexts
"Look, my lord! See heaven itself declares against your impious intentions!"
One of the most influential Gothic novels, The Castle of Otranto established the literary effects associated with the genre: an ancient castle, secret passages, supernatural visitations, an innocent girl threatened with violence, sudden revelations, terror and excitement.
In this new edition, Professor Nick Groom examines the reasons for its extraordinary impact and the Gothic culture from which it sprang. The Castle of Otranto was a game-changer, and Walpole the writer who paved the way for modern horror exponents.
To listen to Professor Nick Groom, editor of the Oxford World's Classics edition, introduce The Castle of Otranto click on the links below.
Introduction to The Castle of Otranto
The political crisis at the time
The success of The Castle of Otranto
The Goths and Gothic culture - what had Walpole started?
The Gothic Culture - a style that will not die
The interview in full