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The Castle of Otranto
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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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About the Author

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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