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The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story Paperback – Sep 14 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks (Sept. 14 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199537216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199537211
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 1 x 12.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 118 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #338,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

`with each volume having an introduction by an acknowledged expert, and exhaustive notes, the World's Classics are surely the most desirable series and, all-round, the best value for money' Oxford Times

From the Back Cover

This Broadview edition pairs the first Gothic novel with the first Gothic drama, both by Horace Walpole. Published on Christmas Eve, 1764, on Walpole's private press at Strawberry Hill, his Gothicized country house, The Castle of Otranto became an instant and immediate classic of the Gothic genre as well as the prototype for Gothic fiction for the next two hundred years. Walpole's brooding and intense drama, The Mysterious Mother, focuses on the protagonist's angst over an act of incest with his mother, and includes the appearance of Father Benedict, Gothic literature's first evil monk. Appendices in this edition include selections from Walpole’s letters, contemporary responses, and writings illustrating the aesthetic and intellectual climate of the period. Also included is Sir Walter Scott’s introduction to the 1811 edition of The Castle of Otranto. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Frederick S. Frank on April 9 2003
Format: Paperback
Prospective buyers and users should take note that the Customer Reviews posted on Amazon.com are erroneous. They pertain to previous
editions of Walpole's Gothic novel and do not apply to the Broadview edition. A unique feature of the Broadview edition is the inclusion of Walpole's drama, The Mysterious Mother, sometimes mentioned by literary historians as the first Gothic drama. Thus, the user has at his disposal two important prototypes of the Gothic novel. Appendices include excerpts from Burke's treatise on the sublime, Hurd's Letters on Chivalry and Romance, the Graveyard poets, Hervey's Meditations Among the Tombs, Walpole's correspondence, and the eccentric architectural splendors of Strawberry Hill, Walpole's Gothicized villa on the Thames. I am the edition's editor, Frederick S. Frank, another fact omitted from the Amazon.com descriptor.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 21 2000
Format: Paperback
A high school English teacher, I assigned The Castle of Otranto to my 50 sophomores. They're a tough sell when it comes to books. (They're against them.) Still, I thought these kids might be interested in the one book that defined gothic horror, a genre much beloved by teenagers today. Forget it. They hated it. What was spooky to Walpole is hokum to youngsters who consider The Texas Chain-Saw Massacre one of the Ten Best Movies Ever Made. In desperation, I tried to teach the book as an example of 18th century camp, but campiness isn't a concept a 15 year old appreciates. Can 60 tenth-graders all be wrong? Yes, of course they're wrong. It should've worked, but it didn't. Next year, it's back to The Mayor of Casterbridge. That'll teach 'em to complain.
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By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER on July 14 2006
Format: Paperback
Setting aside this work's importance as the first Gothic novel, it is also a terrific read. Some critics disparage the quality of the writing, but I find it eloquent and enthralling. Certainly, the style is antiquated and the milieu is one quite distant from that of the modern reader, but never have I read such long paragraphs so quickly and energetically. I can appreciate the sentiments of its first readers who reportedly could not put the book down and longed for more after they turned the final page. There is action aplenty to be found in these pages. The characters are prone to make long, drawn-out speeches, but these never slow the pace of the story itself.

The characters are revealed quite poignantly through their speech and action, a fact which somewhat surprised me. There was a deep complexity to Manfred that seemed to speak volumes; while he is surely tyrannical and, to some degree, evil, one can often sense an internal battle within his soul at moments of tragic importance. While he cannot be liked, he can certainly be understood. The young hero Theodore is truly a remarkable lad, the very model of a virtuous, noble gentleman--most importantly, he is just as noble in peasant's rags as he is in princely attire. The two young princesses, Matilda and Isabella, were marvelously portrayed--beautiful, kind, and virtuous to a fault. Their mistreatment by their fathers is the great tragedy of the story. They will gladly sacrifice their own virtue in acquiescence to the wishes of the men controlling their lives. Such devotion is a symbol of the virtual prison that women were forced by society to dwell in for far too long. They, much more than Theodore, are the true heroic figures to be found in the Castle of Otranto.
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By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER on June 14 2006
Format: Paperback
Setting aside this work's importance as the first Gothic novel, it is also a terrific read. Some critics disparage the quality of the writing, but I find it eloquent and enthralling. Certainly, the style is antiquated and the milieu is one quite distant from that of the modern reader, but never have I read such long paragraphs so quickly and energetically. I can appreciate the sentiments of its first readers who reportedly could not put the book down and longed for more after they turned the final page. There is action aplenty to be found in these pages. The characters are prone to make long, drawn-out speeches, but these never slow the pace of the story itself.

The characters are revealed quite poignantly through their speech and action, a fact which somewhat surprised me. There was a deep complexity to Manfred that seemed to speak volumes; while he is surely tyrannical and, to some degree, evil, one can often sense an internal battle within his soul at moments of tragic importance. While he cannot be liked, he can certainly be understood. The young hero Theodore is truly a remarkable lad, the very model of a virtuous, noble gentleman--most importantly, he is just as noble in peasant's rags as he is in princely attire. The two young princesses, Matilda and Isabella, were marvelously portrayed--beautiful, kind, and virtuous to a fault. Their mistreatment by their fathers is the great tragedy of the story. They will gladly sacrifice their own virtue in acquiescence to the wishes of the men controlling their lives. Such devotion is a symbol of the virtual prison that women were forced by society to dwell in for far too long. They, much more than Theodore, are the true heroic figures to be found in the Castle of Otranto.
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