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By: Horace Walpole (1717-1797)

Book cover (German) Burg von Otranto

Manfred, der Fürst von Otranto ist besorgt um die Zukunft seines Hauses und will deshalb seinen Sohn so bald als möglich mit Isabelle verheiraten, die durch ihren Vater Friedrich selbst Ansprüche auf Otranto machen kann. Friedrich ist auf dem Kreuzzug in Gefangenschaft geraten und gilt als tot. Auf dem Weg zur Trauung erleidet Manfreds Sohn einen tödlichen Unfall - er wird von einem riesigen Helm erschlagen. Kurz darauf erscheint eine riesige Gestalt in der Burg und löst Panik unter den Bediensteten aus...

Book cover Horace Walpole's Letters: a selection

Horace Walpole, 4th earl of Orford, was a cultivated participant in, and observer of, the social and political life of Georgian England. His charming and witty letters are valuable pictures of the age. "A man so blessed that he could unfold every gift, every foible, whose long life spreads like a great lake reflecting houses and friends and wars and snuff boxes and revolutions and lap dogs, the great and the little, all intermingled, and behind them a stretch of the serene blue sky." Virginia Woolf.

Book cover Castle of Otranto (Version 2)

The Castle of Otranto is regarded as the first Gothic novel, a genre appealing to a taste for terror and set in a remote past when prodigies and magic can be imagined to have existed, with violent contrasts between purity and ungoverned passions. The author represents the tale as having been translated from a black letter Italian volume of the 15th century but describing much earlier events. This fictional antiquity and the depiction of mysterious wonders, dark subterranean passages, fearsome apparitions, marvelous coincidences, and especially a savage threat to spotless innocence are all typical of this genre, which does not assure a reader of a happy ending.

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