AUTHOR: WALPOLE, Horace.
TITLE: The Castle Of Otranto, A Gothic Story.
PUBLISHER: London: for William Bathoe and Thomas Lownds, 1765.
DESCRIPTION: SECOND EDITION. 1 vol., 7" x 4-5/8", (xvi)200pp., complete, 1 of 500 copies, bound in fine contemporary full speckled calf over cords, covers double ruled in gilt.
CONDITION: Internally clean and bright, upper hinges just starting, foot of spine rubbed with some slight loss, neat contemporary ownership signature to upper edge of front blank endleaf, an exemplary copy.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: SCARCE. ABPC & RBH record only 5 copies ever appearing at auction. The last copy was 13 years ago in 2010. That copy had a damaged title-page and was rebacked.
The first edition, also published in 1765, is generally regarded as the first gothic novel. In this the second edition Walpole applied for the first time the word 'Gothic' to the novel in the subtitle not present in the first edition. Set in a haunted castle, the novel merged medievalism and terror in a style that has endured ever since. The aesthetic of the book has shaped modern-day gothic books, films, art, music, and the goth subculture.
Walpole was inspired to write the story after a nightmare he had at his Gothic Revival home, Strawberry Hill House, in southwest London. The novel initiated a literary genre that would become extremely popular in the later 18th and early 19th century from Ann Radcliffe, Matthew Lewis, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, and Edgar Allan Poe to name a few.