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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.
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The Gothic novel, which flourished from about 1765 until 1825, revels in the horrible and the supernatural, in suspense and exotic settings.
This volume, with its erudite introduction by Mario Praz, presents three of the most celebrated Gothic novels: The Castle of Otranto, published pseudonymously in 1765, is one of the first of the genre and the most truly Gothic of the three. Vathek (1786), an oriental tale by an eccentric millionaire, exotically combines Gothic romanticism with the vivacity of The Arabian Nights and is a narrative tour de force. The story of Frankenstein (1818) and the monster he created is as spine-chilling today as it ever was; as in all Gothic novels, horror is the keynote.
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Letters of Horace Walpole Volume I
Letters of Horace Walpole Volume II
Letters of Horace Walpole Volume III
Letters of Horace Walpole Volume IV
The Castle of Otranto