Sunday 24 May 2015

Book Review: The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

Title: The Castle of Otranto
Author: Horace Walpole
Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 2002 (1764)
Pages: 208
Format: Paperback
Genre: Gothic Horror
Source: Bought Copy
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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. (Goodreads Synopsis)

Is The Castle of Otranto a particularly well-written book? Honestly, the answer is no, and on the  surface it would only rate two stars in my reckoning. That said, it does hold an important place in the development of the Gothic novel, and as such merits more praise than its prose and characterisation deserve. Plus, any Shakespeare fans out there will delight in spotting the references littered throughout. Hamlet is a strong focus, but other plays are also quoted.

In conclusion, this may not be a book worthy of standalone reading, but it is well worth your time if you are interested in the Gothic novel and its development.

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