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Walpole was fascinated with medieval history, building in a fake gothic castle, Strawberry Hill House. Translated by William Marshal, Gent.
This first edition purported to be a translation based on a manuscript printed at Naples in  and recently rediscovered in the library of "an ancient Catholic family in the north of England".
This "ancient Catholic family" is possibly the Percy family, as Walpole would have known the Duke of Northumberland and his wife Elizabeth Percythough this is not proven.
He employed an archaic style of writing to further reinforce this. In the second and subsequent editions, Walpole acknowledges authorship of his work, writing: In the former all was imagination and improbability: The first edition was well received by some reviewers who understood the novel as belonging to medieval fiction, "betweenthe era of the First Crusadeandthe date of the last", as the first preface states; and some referred to Walpole as an "ingenious translator".
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". However, as Manfred attempts to marry Isabella, she escapes to a church with the aid of a peasant named Theodore.
When Theodore removes his shirt to be killed, Jerome recognizes a marking below his shoulder and identifies Theodore as his own son. 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. 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. With that, they all go up to the castle to work things out.
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.
Characters[ edit ] Illustration from a German edition Manfred — the lord of the Castle of Otranto. He is the father of Conrad and Matilda, and the husband of Hippolita.
After his son is killed by the falling helmet, he becomes obsessed with the idea of ending his marriage with Hippolita in pursuit of the much younger Isabella, who was supposed to marry his son. Manfred serves as the prime antagonist of the novel; he is the dictatorial ruler and father that drives the plot forward in a depiction of deranged cruelty visited upon his children.
Hippolita — the wife of Manfred and the mother of Conrad and Matilda. After having lost her son, she is left with just Matilda to combat the tyrannical turn of mind that her husband displays. Manfred intends to divorce her due to her sterility and on the grounds that their marriage is in fact false because they are actually related.
Faced with the threat of divorce, Hippolita is mournful yet submissive to the wills of her husband. She acts as a sort of enabler to her husband, putting aside her morals and happiness so that her husband can get what he wants. Conrad — the fifteen-year-old son of Manfred and Hippolita and the younger brother of Matilda.
In the first pages of the novel, he is crushed by a giant helmet on his way to his wedding with Isabella. Matilda — Matilda is the daughter of Hippolita and the oppressive Manfred.
She falls in love with Theodore, much to her chagrin since it is a love unsanctioned by her parents.
Upon the appearance of Frederic, things become even more complicated as Frederic lusts after Matilda. She serves as the forbidden woman, a facet of Gothic literature.
At the end of the novel, she is mistakenly stabbed by her father.‘Gothic’ is an amalgamation of two different ideas from different times in history.
Originally, gothic referred to a style of architecture that was popular in the middle of Medieval times (mid middle-ages). The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole. Part 1; Part 2; Part 3. Back to Full BooksFull Books.
Italian castle town -- Find potential answers to this crossword clue at grupobittia.com The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story (Oxford World's Classics) - Kindle edition by Horace Walpole, Nick Groom. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets.
Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story (Oxford World's Classics). The Castle of Otranto is a novel by British novelist Horace Walpole. Generally regarded as the first Gothic novel, it is credited with inspiring the entire genre and the works of future authors including Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, and Daphne du Maurier.
Otranto Lovely old town with historic buildings, blue sea and a small beach About Otranto. Otranto is a historic seaside town and port on the Adriatic coast of southern Italy, in the region of Puglia.