The Fza's Reviews > The Castle of Otranto

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
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Feb 25, 08

bookshelves: classics, favorites, fiction, speculative-fiction
Recommended to The Fza by: Charrolee thompson
Read in September, 2005


I was given this book to read with the preface, "I was not a fan, but I have a feeling you'd like this." And all of a sudden I was in an old world made new... to me.

The Castle of Otranto has a history as interesting and strange as the tale w/in it's pages. Know as the first Gothic Novel (Gothic fiction is a genre of literature that combines horror, romance and mystery offset by elements of fantasy), the book was purported to be a translation based on a manuscript printed near Naples in 1529 and recently rediscovered in the library of 'an ancient Catholic family in the north of England.'

This turned out to be a elaborate lie woven by the books true author, Horace Walpole (The 4th Earl of Orford). The story itself concerns a curse on the house Manfred, Prince of Otranto. Who is trying to solidify his rule by the marriage of his son to the beautiful Isabella daughter of the Marquis of Vicenza.

Manfred's plans, of course, go awry amidst speculation about an 'ancient prophecy' claiming "That the castle and lordship of Otranto should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it." These claims are surrounded by a series of supernatural events involving many over-sized limbs, ghosts, mysterious blood, and of course murder.

The book is a short, good read and very entertaining. Though I should mention it was written in 1764 and if you haven't read any period lit you might not be able to plow though it as fast as some, since many of the writing rules we've been weaned on were not yet in existence.

But if you have read period lit, or think you can understand a book full of run-on sentences, missing paragraph breaks and no quotation marks, then please try this book out.

If anything you'll get quite a look at the 18th century mind and they're view of 16th century life as well as a fantastic tale.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by lee lee (new)

lee lee hey...i didn't say i "wasn't a fan." did i??? i like the book. i just thought you'd like it more!

The Fza hmmm... okay I have to admit that was artistic license there. I don't remember the actual wording you used, but I do remember you saying you really didn't think it was your type of book.

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