Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole-The first Gothic novel

Tuesdays Tomes: weekly book reviews. Read a good book lately? Blog about it and add your book review post in the Linky below.

Have you ever wondered about the Gothic novels referred to in Jane Austen books? Here’s a chance for you to hear one, The Castel of Otranto, regarded as the very first Gothic novel ever (1764)-and it’s a free audio book from Librivox

Young Conrad, son of Manfred, Prince of Otranto, is to be wed to the lovely Isabella when he is struck down just minutes before the wedding is to take place by a huge helmet falling on him….yes, that’s right! a huge helmet, an exact replica except for size of the helmet on the statue of the last Prince of Otranto, Alfonso.

Manfred is beside himself by the death of Conrad, not only because he loved his son but because of the prophesy that stated that his House will be Princes of Otranto only as long as there are male heirs to inherit and only until the rightful owner grows too big to be contained! Now Conrad, Manfred’s only son, has been killed by a giant helmet-surely signs that soon Manfred will lose his principality. What is he to do???

In this fast moving story, filled with just about everything you could ask for from ghosts, star crossed lovers, runaway princesses, a lost child restored, knights and chivalry-all of the action taking place in just 3 days- all of the elements of Gothic fiction is found. No wonder this book became such a sensation and indeed founded a whole new genre.

This book is amusingly read by Great Plains (!) and there are even “it is a dark and stormy night” sound effects between chapter segments! Listen to the preface after the book, not before. You’ll really enjoy it more.

You can download this free audiobook here or download the free e-book in pdf. or Kindle format here. You can also read this book here-a blog devoted solely to this book!

Not sure you want to read the book...try this quickie version..

1 comment:

Susan said...

That video is hilarious...I love it. I also love gothic literature although I've never read this. Thanks, Miri.