The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story and The Mysterious Mother / Edition 1

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This Broadview edition pairs the first Gothic novel with the first Gothic drama, both by Horace Walpole.
Published on Christmas Eve, 1764, on Walpole's private press at Strawberry Hill, his Gothicized country house, The Castle of Otranto became an instant and immediate classic of the Gothic genre as well as the prototype for Gothic fiction for the next two hundred years. Walpole's brooding and intense drama, The Mysterious Mother, focuses on the protagonist's angst over an act of incest with his mother, and includes the appearance of Father Benedict, Gothic literature's first evil monk.
Appendices in this edition include selections from Walpole’s letters, contemporary responses, and writings illustrating the aesthetic and intellectual climate of the period. Also included is Sir Walter Scott’s introduction to the 1811 edition of The Castle of Otranto.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Frederick Frank brings together Walpole's controversial play The Mysterious Mother and his seminal Gothic novel The Castle of Otranto in this authoritative edition. Frank's masterly introduction transports the modern reader back to a fresh appreciation of Walpolian 'gloomth.' The edition is an indispensable addition to every Gothicist's book-shelf as well as an invaluable text for students, scholars, and general readers alike." - Marie Mulvey-Roberts, University of the West of England, Bristol
"A valuable tool for any scholar of the Gothic, and especially of Walpole, this book includes a chronology of Walpole's life and work, a collection of his correspondence, responses and reactions to the texts, and a guide to the aesthetic and intellectual backgrounds influencing both texts." - Eighteenth-Century Fiction
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551113043
  • Publisher: Broadview Press
  • Publication date: 1/2/2003
  • Series: Broadview Literary Texts Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 357
  • Sales rank: 610,981
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Frederick S. Frank is Professor Emeritus of English, Allegheny College, Meadville, PA. His books include The First Gothics: A Critical Guide to the English Gothic Novel (Garland, 1987) and The Poe Encyclopedia (Greenwood, 1997).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Horace Walpole: A Brief Chronology
Publication History of The Castle of Otranto and The Mysterious Mother
The Castle of Otranto; A Gothic Story
Preface to the First Edition
Preface to the Second Edition
Sonnet to the Right Honourable Lady Mary Coke
The Mysterious Mother; A Tragedy
Preface to the 1781 Edition
Advertisement from the Publishers
A: Walpole’s Correspondence and Strawberry Hill
The Castle of Otranto in Walpole’s Letters
The Mysterious Mother in Walpole’s Letters
The Little Gothic Villa at Strawberry Hill
B: Responses and Reactions
Three Early Reviews of The Castle of Otranto
Notices of The Mysterious Mother
Two Poems: Ann Yearsley’s "To the Honourable H———E W——E, on Reading THE CASTLE OF OTRANTO December, 1784" and John Courtenay’s "Letter the Seventh, Naples, April 16, 1793"
Comments on The Castle of Otranto and The Mysterious Mother by Early Readers
C: Aesthetic and Intellectual Backgrounds
The Graveyard Poets: Alexander Pope, Thomas Parnell, John Dyer, David Mallet, Edward Young, Robert Blair, Mark Akenside, William Collins, Thomas Warton the Younger, Thomas Gray
From James Hervey’s Meditations Among the Tombs
From Bishop Richard Hurd’s Letters on Chivalry and Romance
From Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful
D: Sir Walter Scott’s Introduction to the 1811 Edition of The Castle of Otranto
Select Bibliography

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 4, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    First Gothic Novel

    This edition of The Castle of Ontranto was a required text for my Gothic Fictions course. The text is interesting from a literary analysis perspective. It's the first gothic novel, so it's worthy of study in that context, especially considering the fascination in modern popular culture with gothic books and movies. This edition is very well written and a great study guide if you're interested in the origins of the gothic genre. It's also interesting to see the experimental style, since this was one of the first novels. As a result, the dialogue is difficult to follow at times, because Walpole doesn't use quotation marks and doesn't separate each speaker with a new paragraph. I had to take a second look at some passages to make sure I knew which character was speaking. As far as the critiques and analysis, I'm not going to bore you, so read the "extras" in the book or some literary criticisms, if you're so inclined. This edition also includes The Mysterious Mother, but we didn't have to read that for class. Perhaps I'll take that on after the semester, when my workload isn't so heavy. However, this is a must-have if you're interested in studying the origins of the gothic genre. I would also recommend reading Edmund Burke's A Philosophical Inquiry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2002

    Publication Update

    Originally announced for publication in October 2002 by the Broadview Press, the publication date was moved up to January 2003. The edition should then be available at B&N as well as other booksellers. Fred Frank

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