The Castle of Otranto



Cover of this title
The Castle of Otranto
Horace Walpole

Though written in the Romantic period, this novel is considered the first supernatural English novel. It combines Shakespearean elements like the class-dependent distribution of comedy and tragedy and ghostly apparitions with medievalism and 18th-century realism. Manfred is the lord of the castle of Otranto, and his son Conrad is about to marry Isabella. When Conrad is crushed by a giant helmet falling from the sky shortly before the wedding, Manfred tries to secure his lineage by marrying Isabella himself. But she hides from him successfully, and soon her father arrives to pick her up and take the castle. In the course of the story, there are several apparitions and prophecies regarding the true owner of the castle, eventually motivating a fatal delusion of grandeur.

The novel is in the public domain and was adapted as a comic, which makes it possible to access the plot with intermediate learners of English.

· · 1764

Critical edition

Walpole, Horace. The Castle of Otranto. Penguin Classics, 2001. 208 pp., ISBN 9780140437676

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In favour of this entry

  • Charged with meaning
  • Classic

Adapted as

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  • Comic
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