About This Book
With its fantastic apparitions, its ominous prophecies, and its complicated underground passages, The Castle of Otranto heralded a new genre, the Gothic novel, still present in our literary landscape today. Walpoles novel accomplished what no other novel had attempted before: to make readers enjoy what they shuddered to read, in other words to find beauty amidst literary materials ostensibly laced with ugliness and horror.Yet, far from being the fruit of deliberate planning, The Castle of Otranto was born of a dream that came to haunt Walpoles sleep one night in June 1764. The next day, all that Walpole could recall of the dream was that "I had thought myself in an ancient castle...and that on the uppermost banister of a great staircase I saw a gigantic hand in armour." Later that evening, Walpole "sat down, and began to write, without knowing in the least what I intended to say or relate." A classic was born.