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What's the first noteworthy Gothic book?
#1
What's the first noteworthy Gothic book? Have you read it, and would you recommend it?
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#2
Whether it was the first Gothic book ever written, I cannot say, but the first Gothic to be recognized as such was "The Castle of Otranto" by Horace Walpole. It started the Gothic frenzy in the 18th century, which has evolved over the years and seems to have remained popular even today. I only read it recently and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in Gothics. Not only as a literary piece, but for pleasure-reading as well.
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#3
I haven't read it, but I'm going to now. I bet it is a good book, but it will also be great to see what started it all.
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#4
Yes, it is a good book, but my complaint with some of the older books is that the language can be difficult to follow sometimes.
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#5
I've noticed that, not just with gothics too. For example, even reading Shakespeare's plays is hard for me due to the language. I wonder if anyone will ever take these older books and "translate" them into modern English.
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#6
Since Walpole's CASTLE OF OTRANTO was first printed in 1529, I would surprised if it weren't the first notable one. I do not find them hard to read. They are not written like Shakespeare's plays.
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#7
Castle Otranto is Arguably one of the first if not The first Gothic Romances. I am in love with the book as it was the one that sparked my love for the Gothic genre, and find it MUCH easier to read than Shakespeare, it just takes time to accustom yourself with the style.
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#8
ginnystrait Wrote:Since Walpole's CASTLE OF OTRANTO was first printed in 1529, I would surprised if it weren't the first notable one. I do not find them hard to read. They are not written like Shakespeare's plays.

Castle of Otranto isn't actually as old as Walpole claimed. It was actually first published in 1764 and written by Walpole himself. He claimed it was much older but that was part of the fiction. I read it a couple years ago and found it very readable. Some of the comedy of it hasn't aged well so that some readers take seriously those parts that Walpole intended to be lighthearted, but overall it was much easier to read than I expected.
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#9
I would be curious to see where you read that Des Esseintes, as I have not found that to be so anywhere else except here. Not to say I don't find it possible, it is just that so far I know a number of literature professors saying otherwise. Still, I am always up to learning something new!
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#10
No offense to anyone here but I thought this was rather common knowledge. Walpole's 1st edition of Otranto claimed that it was a printing of a much older manuscript but in his introduction to later editions he revealed he wrote it himself and discusses the dream which he had which inspired the story. The Wikipedia article is here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_of_Otranto

The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica article upon Walpole is here:

http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Horatio_Walpole

And The Cambridge History of English and American Literature article is here:

http://www.bartleby.com/220/0311.html

Edith Birkhead's Tale of Terror discusses it and can be found here:

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/14154/14154.txt

I suppose any modern edition of Castle of Otranto would discuss the publication details in the introduction. I know my copy certainly does. I have the 1968 edition of Penguin's "Three Gothic Novels" and it includes Castle of Otranto (with the 1st and 2nd introductions by Walpole), Beckford's Vathek and Shelley's Frankenstein.

Considering that Walpole revealed he was the author in his own lifetime the truth has been known for over 200 years. If you know a number of literature professors saying otherwise I'd demand a refund of my tuition if I were you. Smile
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