The Castle of Otranto - Wikipedia


horace walpole gothic literature

Dec 10,  · The Gothic Life and Times of Horace Walpole. Two-hundred and fifty years ago, Horace Walpole published ‘The Castle of Otranto,’ a strange, campy book that’s widely considered to be the first Gothic novel. In real life, Walpole’s family was beset by tragedy and his life’s obsession was a Gothic castle called Strawberry Hill. Waking from a dream in the summer of , Horace Walpole put pen to paper and wrote solidly for two months. The end result was The Castle of Otranto – the first Gothic novel – published on Christmas Eve of the same year. The story revolves around a labyrinthine medieval Italian Castle and its. Horace Walpole (–), English historian, Member of Parliament, connoisseur, playwright and novelist, said to have coined the term serendipity wrote the Gothic novel Castle of Otranto (). Fourth Earl of Orford, Horace Walpole was born 24 September in Arlington Street, Piccadilly, Westminster, London, England, the third son of Whig politician and First Earl of Orford Sir Robert.

The Gothic Life and Times of Horace Walpole

Carrie Frye Longreads December 16 minutes 4, words. As a child, Horace Walpole frequently heard it said of himself that surely he would die soon. Two siblings before him had died in infancy, and so in the family order it went: three older children, loud, healthy and opinionated; two grave markers; and then young Horace toddling up behind—half child, half potential grave marker.

Naturally, his mother, Catherine, spoiled him. This often kept him away from home, as did a long-time mistress who acted, more than his wife did, as his hostess and companion. For her part Catherine had her own dalliances. It was that sort of marriage. The Walpoles of old had been middling country gentry—ancient horace walpole gothic literature, quiet prosperity—before Robert had come along and, through a blend of shrewdness and charisma, wolf-halled his family into riches and the nobility.

When Robert was young, the hope for him was that he might one day make a fine sheep-farmer; he died the first Earl of Orford, after a year run as prime minister, a colossus of English history. His son Horace worked himself into history another way. In his early 30s, he bought a box-shaped house—just an ordinary sort of house, sitting on a bit of hill in a fashionable country suburb—and decided to transform it into a Gothic castle.

Room by room horace walpole gothic literature went, horace walpole gothic literature. Stained-glass window of a saint here, ancient suit of armor stowed in a wall recess there. Its setting was a medieval castle, not unlike his own mock-castle in many of its details, but grown, in the way of novels and dreams, into something grand and imposing. Commonly pegged as the first Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto turns this year. Presumably with some lightning flickering dangerously nearby.

At nine, Horace was sent off to Eton. There is so much of the future man in this anecdote: the spectral sense of himself as a figure that others might observe; the family pride that made him want to make a good showing; and then, not least, that we know the story at all, which is because he told it on himself. As an adult he was pale—so many people noted this, he must have been ghostly indeed. Very pale, very thin, with a bright, bright gaze. Average height.

He had an effacing, gliding kind of walk that was either affectation early life or gout later life. His voice was not strong but pleasant. He was extremely charming, confident and buoyant in manner. He had one of those temperaments that sees the sadness in comedy, horace walpole gothic literature, and the comedy in sadness, and so at the risk of tipping too far toward sadness, tips determinedly the other way.

He seems to have had little appetite for food or alcohol. He never married. As for his romantic heart, who knows? He was adept at self-camouflage.

There were a few, rather wispy relationships with women around this time, too. His spare diet made friends view his struggles with gout, which were chronic and debilitating, as especially cruel. Gray made the trip filled with uncertainty of what he was going to do with himself on his return. There was a vague notion that he would study law, but the idea filled Gray with dread. Meanwhile, Walpole had the guarantee of a lifetime income of at least 1, pounds a year, thanks to sinecures arranged by his father, and the assurance of a future place in parliament.

Their shared attentiveness to these sights shows what bound them as friends. Neither was going through the motions of appreciation; each was moved and transformed by what he saw. Here we are, the lonely lords of glorious desolate prospects, horace walpole gothic literature. Near the end of the trip, after two years of jostling travel, tensions broke into the open.

The friends quarreled, and Gray made his way, all stiff pride, back to England alone, with Walpole, behind the scenes, horace walpole gothic literature to find ways to get money to him without his knowing the source. They reconciled a few years later, and remained friends thereafter, horace walpole gothic literature. In Florence, Walpole had one of his wispy affairs. After his return to England, he sent her a few horace walpole gothic literature, and the two corresponded for a time, the letters rapturous on her side, congenial and increasingly perfunctory on his.

In his fine biographyR. It was unlike Walpole to call off a correspondence. Generally, once he started writing someone he continued writing them until either they died and thus stopped reading their mailor the friendship died rare for him, but it did happen.

If you know Walpole only through Castle of Otrantothese letters are a revelation, horace walpole gothic literature. The Castlewhatever its virtues, is a block-y piece of work. It can be praised, but the praise would not, say, be directed at its psychological complexities or… the sophistication of the dialogue. As a novel it is, as all progenitors should be, sort of a grand lumpy thing, like an early horace walpole gothic literature. Not the letters, though.

These are marvelous little masterpieces: subtle, witty, and dripping with description and gossip and observation.

They read like the literary equivalent of a cat curling itself around your ankles, showing off, sure, but glad to see you all the same. Some bits have grown murky and mysterious with time. The vast majority, however, with their swirl of high and low, of official statecraft and candid backroom gossip, feel peculiarly modern, horace walpole gothic literature.

It is in Florence, at the house of the British envoy. An elderly Italian of noble background and shabby dress enters. He gives every appearance of nervous fright.

Exits, still nervous as a cricket. We had not been driving about above ten minutes, but out popped a little figure, pale but cross, with beard unshaved and hair uncombed, a slouched hat, and a considerable red cloak, in horace walpole gothic literature was wrapped, under his arm, the horace walpole gothic literature sword that was to revenge the highly injured Mr Martin, painter and defendant.

We left him to wait for an hour, to grow very cold and very valiant the horace walpole gothic literature it grew past the hour of appointment. Even more than most of us, he wished to be remembered, and he seems to have been willing to sacrifice many of the ordinary happinesses of life in order to live on after. His regular correspondents were directed to safe-keep his letters. The letters were transcribed if a fairer copy was needed, shaved here and there, and annotated by Walpole himself.

Walpole, for future generations to know. He was 30 when he bought his house in Twickenham, then still a bucolic little town considered the perfect, short distance from London.

The previous owner was a Mrs. Chevinix, who kept a famous toyshop in Charing Cross. He called it Strawberry Hill. Then he added some pinnacles. Intended to look as permanent as if they belonged to an ancient keep, these additions were made of plaster and lath. Walpole has already outlived three sets of his battlements. Then he started on the interior. At first, his friends greeted his plans to re-do the house in a Gothic style with some mock-horror.

As the biographer Ketton-Cremer notes, horace walpole gothic literature, this was not because it was a new idea, but because it was a slightly out-of-date one. Never mind!

He convened the Committee of Taste with his friends, Richard Bentley, a gifted and fanciful designer, and John Chute, horace walpole gothic literature talented hobbyist architect. The two advised him on the changes to be made to each room. An elaborate chimneypiece horace walpole gothic literature the parlor was designed.

Beautiful chairs and tables, too. And so it went, room by room. It was, remember, not a big house at the start.

Many rooms were cramped, with one staircase so narrow it was a scrape to get up it. One addition, however, was built on an especially grand scale. Walpole lifted them and put them straight into his book, horace walpole gothic literature. That is, a mixture of warmth and gloom. He was a helpless collector, a hoarder of beauty. During horace walpole gothic literature same decades, Walpole was serving in Parliament as a member of the liberal Whig party. He was active about it, too.

While his weak voice prevented him from making the stirring speeches that would have placed him center-stage, he was a wheeler-dealer behind the scenes, peddling influence and advice. He took wild, self-confessed enjoyment in the scuffling and skullduggery of politics. By contrast, Strawberry Hill was a balm and a retreat, horace walpole gothic literature, a stage-set fantasia. Walpole saw its creation, rightly, as one of his chief achievements, and it was important to him that it last.

He fretted a great deal about what would happen to it after his death. And all the time came constant reminders of its vulnerability. Those eroding plaster battlements. The paper of the Hall that looked like stone but was not horace walpole gothic literature. My poor shattered castle… never did it look so Gothic. In other words, horace walpole gothic literature, while wanting to build something permanent, Walpole had built something dazzlingly impermanent.

It could dissolve, erode, be shattered.


Definition of Gothic Literature


horace walpole gothic literature


Jun 19,  · Gothic literature developed during the Romantic period in Britain; the first mention of "Gothic," as pertaining to literature, was in the subtitle of Horace Walpole's story "The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story" which, the British Library says, was meant by the author as a subtle joke. "When he used the word it meant something like ‘barbarous,’ as well as ‘deriving from the Middle. Many people in England spend Christmas Eve eating a good roast pheasant and maybe some figgy pudding, but in , Horace Walpole, son of the Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, published The Castle of Otranto. And it was a hit. On that day, he pretty much created Gothic literature. He wanted to create. May 15,  · Gothic fiction began as a sophisticated joke. Horace Walpole first applied the word ‘Gothic’ to a novel in the subtitle – ‘A Gothic Story’ – of The Castle of Otranto, published in When he used the word it meant something like ‘barbarous’, as well as ‘deriving from the Middle Ages’.