When Prince Manfred of Otranto loses his son in a strange and terrifying accident, he fears that an ancient prophecy has come to pass and his family will be stripped of its castle and lands before he can produce a new heir. Desperate to hold on to their power, he decides to divorce his wife and marry Isabella, his son’s betrothed. But Isabella escapes into the gloomy passages beneath the castle, and with the help of a young peasant named Theodore, finds sanctuary in a nearby monastery. Manfred threatens to kill Theodore unless Friar Jerome turns the girl over to him. Only a shocking twist of fate can save Isabella and ensure that the Castle of Otranto falls to its rightful heir.
An immediate sensation when it was published pseudonymously in 1764, The Castle of Otranto is widely considered to be the first Gothic novel. Rich with romance, spine-tingling suspense, and supernatural horror, the novel profoundly influenced the works of Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, and Mary Shelley.
This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.
One of the first and greatest of Gothic novels, this thrilling tale ranks among the most influential books in literary history. Serving as the model for plots, characterizations, settings, and tone for hundreds of successors, The Castle of Otranto abounds with colorful scenes, adventure, suspense, and inexplicable phenomena.
In the second and subsequent editions, Walpole acknowledges authorship of his work, writing: "The favourable manner in which this little piece has been received by the public, calls upon the author to explain the grounds on which he composed it" as "an attempt to blend the two kinds of romance, the ancient and the modern. In the former all was imagination and improbability: in the latter, nature is always intended to be, and sometimes has been, copied with success...". There was some debate at the time about the function of literature, that is, whether or not works of fiction should be representative of life, or more purely imaginative (i.e. natural vs. romantic). The first edition was well received by some reviewers who understood the novel as belonging to medieval fiction, "between 1095, the era of the First Crusade, and 1243, the date of the last", as the first preface states; and some referred to Walpole as an "ingenious translator". Following Walpole's admission of authorship, however, many critics were loath to lavish much praise on the work and dismissed it as absurd, fluffy, romantic fiction.
In his 1924 edition of The Castle of Otranto, Montague Summers showed that the life story of Manfred of Sicily inspired some details of the plot. The real medieval castle of Otranto was among Manfred's possessions (font: Wikipedia)
"I can forgive injuries, but never benefits". — Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto
The Castle of Otranto is believed to be the first gothic novel and essential reading for both fans and scholars of the genre. The story is about Manfred, the lord of the castle, and his family.
This Xist Classics edition has been professionally formatted for e-readers with a linked table of contents. This eBook also contains a bonus book club leadership guide and discussion questions. We hope you’ll share this book with your friends, neighbors and colleagues and can’t wait to hear what you have to say about it.
The Castle of Otranto tells the story of Manfred, lord of the castle, and his family. The book begins on the wedding-day of his sickly son Conrad and princess Isabella. Shortly before the wedding, however, Conrad is crushed to death by a gigantic helmet that falls on him from above. This inexplicable event is particularly ominous in light of an ancient prophecy "That the castle and lordship of Otranto should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it". Manfred, terrified that Conrad's death signals the beginning of the end for his line, resolves to avert destruction by marrying Isabella himself while divorcing his current wife Hippolita, who he feels has failed to bear him a proper heir. However, as Manfred attempts to marry Isabella, she escapes to a church with the aid of a peasant named Theodore. Manfred orders Theodore's death while talking to the friar Jerome, who ensured Isabella's safety in the church. When Theodore removes his shirt to be killed, Jerome recognizes a marking below his shoulder and identifies Theodore as his own son. Jerome begs for his son's life, but Manfred says Jerome must either give up the princess or his son's life. They are interrupted by a trumpet and the entrance of knights from another kingdom who want to deliver Isabella. This leads the knights and Manfred to race to find Isabella. Theodore, having been locked in a tower by Manfred, is freed by Manfred's daughter Matilda. He races to the underground church and finds Isabella. He hides her in a cave and blocks it to protect her from Manfred and ends up fighting one of the mysterious knights. Theodore badly wounds the knight, who turns out to be Isabella's father, Frederic. With that, they all go up to the castle to work things out. Frederic falls in love with Matilda and he and Manfred begin to make a deal about marrying each other's daughters. Manfred, suspecting that Isabella is meeting Theodore in a tryst in the church, takes a knife into the church, where Matilda is meeting Theodore. Thinking his own daughter is Isabella, he stabs her. Theodore is then revealed to be the true prince of Otranto and Matilda dies, leaving Manfred to repent. Theodore becomes king and eventually marries Isabella because she is the only one who can understand his true sorrow.
* Beautifully illustrated with images relating to Walpole’s life and works
* Concise introductions to the novels and other texts
* Images of how the books were first published, giving your eReader a taste of the original texts
* Excellent formatting of the texts
* Many rare non-fiction works, appearing in digital print for the first time, including Walpole’s art criticism and memoirs of George II and III
* Includes Walpole’s rare poetry collection – available in no other collection
* Includes Walpole’s letters - spend hours exploring the author’s personal correspondence
* Features two biographies - discover Walpole’s literary life
* Scholarly ordering of texts into chronological order and literary genres
Please visit www.delphiclassics.com to browse through our range of exciting titles
THE CASTLE OF OTRANTO
The Shorter Fiction
THE MYSTERIOUS MOTHER
THE COUNT OF NARBONNE
FUGITIVE PIECES IN VERSE AND PROSE
SOME ANECDOTES OF PAINTING IN ENGLAND
AN ACCOUNT OF THE GIANTS LATELY DISCOVERED
HISTORIC DOUBTS ON THE LIFE AND REIGN OF RICHARD III
ON MODERN GARDENING
A DESCRIPTION OF THE VILLA OF MR. HORACE WALPOLE
CATALOGUE OF ENGRAVERS
MEMOIRS OF THE REIGN OF KING GEORGE THE SECOND
MEMOIRS OF THE REIGN OF KING GEORGE THE THIRD
THE LETTERS OF HORACE WALPOLE
SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF HORACE WALPOLE, EARL OF ORFORD by Lord Dover
HORATIO WALPOLE by Adolphus William Ward
Please visit www.delphiclassics.com to browse through our range of exciting titles or to purchase this eBook as a Parts Edition of individual eBooks