The Castle of Otranto is quite the wonderful romp! I don't think I'd call it literature with a great amount of merit if you're looking for big insightThe Castle of Otranto is quite the wonderful romp! I don't think I'd call it literature with a great amount of merit if you're looking for big insight and/or revelations on the emotional/psychological side, but god was this ever a fun read.
Self-indulgence really is, I think, a big theme of the book (Walpole's self-indulgence in writing this the way it is, anyway), but I think it's what makes this book so utterly delightful. There's a lot of improbability present, but for the most part it made me crack up from just how improbable it is. Was that Walpole's intention? I don't quite think so, especially looking at the second preface he wrote in which he owned up to his authorship, but that's the twenty-first century reaction he gets from me. Gothic lit, in its many manifestations and especially looking at the upsurge it's experiencing today what with the Twilight hysteria and what not, often is self-indulgent, improbable and over-the-top, so it's okay. Not everything has to be serious to be taken seriously, especially when you take into account the readership that goes beyond academia. Here's a 250 year-old example of that....more