The castle of Otranto, a Gothic story

Price: 965.00 USD

London: printed for William Bathoe in the Strand, 1766. 8vo: xxiv, 200pp. Beautifully rebound by Fitterer in period style, with chestnut calf spine in six compartments divided by raised bands ruled in gilt, red morocco lettering piece gilt, hand-marbled paper-covered boards, end papers renewed. A Fine binding, text block Near Fine, lightly spotted and moderately browned, first few leaves washed and so whiter then the rest. Hazen, Walpole, p.55. Gordon, Landmarks in English Literature, p. 15. PMM 211. The Third Edition (so stated), published one year after Bathoe's first. After Bathoe's death, in 1768, the sheets of this edition were taken over by John Murray and reissued with a cancel title page marked Third Edition and dated 1769. (Hazen) "On Christmas Eve 1764, a small book appeared in London with the title: 'The Castle of Otranto, A Story, translated by William Marshall, Gent. From the original Italian of Onuphrio Muralto, Canon of the Church of St. Nicholas at Otranto.' The Preface explained that the book, which had been printed in black letter at Naples in 1529, had been found 'in the library of an ancient Catholic family in the north of England'. . . . This much was obfuscation, though of an interesting kind, since the story was actually written by Horace Walpole, the aristocratic son of Sir Robert Walpole, the political superman of the early eighteenth century, and on his own account an antiquary, art historian and letter-writer. When the work was republished a year later it was still anonymous, but some initials to the accompanying sonnet gave away the author's identity. In the Preface to the second edition, in which the explanation 'A Gothic Story' is added to the title page, Walpole . . . explains the story as an attempt to blend the ancient style of romance, where 'all was imagination and improbability,' with the modern style in which 'nature is always intended to be [...] copied with success.' . . . Overblown, outrageous, cheerfully unstable and in some ways silly as it is, Otranto was hugely innovative and influential, and remains an indispensable document in the history of the gothic and of proto-romantic literature." (The Literary Encyclopedia) "'The Castle of Otranto,' wrote Sir Walter Scott, 'is remarkable not only for the wild interest of the story, but as the first modern attempt to found a tale of amusing fiction upon the basis of the ancient romances of chivalry.' . . . Its influence on Poe is manifest, and it has survived in such novels as Bram Stoker's Dracula and in modern mystery stories and horror films." (PMM) Note: With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. Early Reprint. Near Fine+.


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