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Old 12-20-2007, 08:40 PM   #1
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Walpole, Horace: The Castle of Otranto. v.1, 21 Dec 2007

Horace Walpole, 'The Castle of Otranto' (1764)

I have removed some scanning errors, and added a picture of the real castle of Otranto and a TOC.

This novella was the original gothic novel. Prince Manfred of Otranto is having trouble with apparitions and strange happenings in his castle. How will the mysterious prophecy about his family succession be fulfilled? Will any family members survive? Or will they be punished up to the third generation?

Horace Walpole was the fourth son of Robert Walpole, the first British Prime Minister. His fondness for things gothic is well-known and, single-handedly he popularised the style. Not only did he produce this gothic novel but he built a gothic mansion at Strawberry Hill, near Twickenham.

If you liked Dr Johnson's 'Rasselas' or Beckford's 'Vathek' then you will probably like this. I have to admit that while the prose is beautiful, Walpole is not so good at capturing a spooky atmosphere. Some of the apparitions are (for me) unintentionally funny.
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Old 03-01-2008, 04:21 PM   #2
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Ill be honest-Ive read it AFTER ive finished Melmoth the Wanderer.Compared to it, ToO is REALY like Lovecraft says-not TOO intersting.I LIKED it,but it couldve EASILY been made better and much scarier (like have the Giant spectre of Lord Alfonso walk about and demolish parts of the castle and kill someone else then Manfred's son and that ON SCREEN)
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Old 03-01-2008, 04:27 PM   #3
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I agree. Walpole was not really much good at evoking horror. However, the plot is ok and Walpole was influential in the revival of Gothic as a respectable style in literature and architecture. (In the 18th century, Gothic was thought to be a rather barbarous style. Walpole's 'Strawberry Hill' at Twickenham caused some people to revise this opinion.)
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:30 AM   #4
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Its just that he makes the people describe their sight of a giant in armour to be far too casual.Oh they do say "god I will not sleep under this roof again." but the person gets to it by a wery calm and casual sort of description.THAT seems outa place.
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