This Broadview edition pairs the first Gothic novel with the first Gothic drama, both by Horace Walpole.
Published on Christmas Eve, 1764, on Walpole’s private press at Strawberry Hill, his Gothicized country house, The Castle of Otranto became an instant and immediate classic of the Gothic genre as well as the prototype for Gothic fiction for the next two hundred years. Walpole’s brooding and intense drama, The Mysterious Mother, focuses on the protagonist’s angst over an act of incest with his mother, and includes the appearance of Father Benedict, Gothic literature’s first evil monk.
Appendices in this edition include selections from Walpole’s letters, contemporary responses, and writings illustrating the aesthetic and intellectual climate of the period. Also included is Sir Walter Scott’s introduction to the 1811 edition of The Castle of Otranto.
“Frederick Frank brings together Walpole’s controversial play The Mysterious Mother and his seminal Gothic novel The Castle of Otranto in this authoritative edition. Frank’s masterly introduction transports the modern reader back to a fresh appreciation of Walpolian ‘gloomth.’ The edition is an indispensable addition to every Gothicist’s book-shelf as well as an invaluable text for students, scholars, and general readers alike.” — Marie Mulvey-Roberts, University of the West of England, Bristol
“A valuable tool for any scholar of the Gothic, and especially of Walpole, this book includes a chronology of Walpole’s life and work, a collection of his correspondence, responses and reactions to the texts, and a guide to the aesthetic and intellectual backgrounds influencing both texts.” — Eighteenth-Century Fiction