Three Gothic Novels: The Castle of Otranto, Vathek, The Vampyre, and a Fragment of a Novel

Three Gothic Novels The Castle of Otranto Vathek The Vampyre and a Fragment of a Novel One of the most interesting phenomena in the history of literature the Gothic novel which flourished from about to still has much to offer to the modern reader Supernatural thrills adventu

  • Title: Three Gothic Novels: The Castle of Otranto, Vathek, The Vampyre, and a Fragment of a Novel
  • Author: E.F. Bleiler William Beckford John William Polidori George Gordon Byron Horace Walpole
  • ISBN: 9780486212326
  • Page: 497
  • Format: Paperback
  • One of the most interesting phenomena in the history of literature, the Gothic novel which flourished from about 1765 to 1825 still has much to offer to the modern reader Supernatural thrills, adventure and suspense, colorful settings, and, in the better examples, literary quality are all present Unfortunately, true Gothic novels not simply modern detective storiesOne of the most interesting phenomena in the history of literature, the Gothic novel which flourished from about 1765 to 1825 still has much to offer to the modern reader Supernatural thrills, adventure and suspense, colorful settings, and, in the better examples, literary quality are all present Unfortunately, true Gothic novels not simply modern detective stories called Gothic are extremely rare books, and have never been as available as they should be.The first member in this collection, Horace Walpole s TheCastle of Otranto, published as a Christmas book for 1764, was the first and one of the greatest members of the genre It has also been one of the most influential books in history It motivated the Gothic revival in the arts, and it probably did to usher in the early 19th century Romanticism than any other single work It also served as the model in plot, characterizations, settings, and tone for hundreds, perhaps thousands of successors.Vathek, by the eccentric British millionaire William Beckford, is generally considered to be the high point of the Oriental tale in English literature Certainly no one has ever written in any European tongue a story which better unifies the stirrings of Gothic romanticism with the color, poetry, and vivacity of the original Arabian Nights.The third novel in this collection, John Polidor s Vampyre, emerged from the same soir es of ghost story telling in Geneva that produced Mary Shelley s Frankenstein The first full length vampire story in English, it initiated a very important literary chain that also leads up to the present Included with Polidori s novel is Lord Byron s little known Fragment, from which Polidori who was Byron s physician in Switzerland plagiarized his plot.These three novels and the fragment are still well worth reading Generations of readers have found thrills and horrors in Walpole s fine work, while Vathek cannot be excelled in its unusual mixture of the bizarre, cruel irony, and masterful narration Polidori s thriller still conveys chills, and the Fragment makes us all wish that Byron had completed his novel.

    738 Comment

    • Shawn says:

      Two classic Gothic Novels and a shortE CASTLE OF OTRANTO is regarded as the first Gothic novel and has probably been pored over by bored students everywhere in every semester that passes by on God's green earth. Much has been said about it, by much better brains than mine, so I thought I'd reserve this review to my particular reasons for reading it (and the orientalist nightmare that is VATHEK). As a long time fan of the horror/supernatural genre, but also as an avid reader with wide-ranging tas [...]

    • Ashley says:

      Vathek was by far the best novella out of the three.

    • Rose says:

      As literature, these stories are just awful. As curiosities in the history of literature, they are interesting.

    • Bill Bruno says:

      The stories in this book are perhaps more useful as examples of the beginnings of a genre than on their own merits. The three prefaces given in the introduction in this edition are particularly useful in this regard.Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto was the ur-text of the Gothic novel and set the tone with its use of the supernatural (which would increase in later phases of the genre) and its medieval settings. The book itself is a reasonable engaging mix of the dramatic, the comic and the frig [...]

    • lisa_emily says:

      Castle of Oranto & Vathek read like very long fairy tales- but I have read fairy tales that were much more interesting. The Vampire was so unrememberable that I cannot even recall it now even though I read a few days ago. Overall, an historically interesting collection if you are curious about gothic literature and early fantasy. But underwhelming in regards to all the other things you can read. They all follow a standard formula- pretty maiden, check; corrupt, power-hungry main character, c [...]

    • Colin says:

      I have long sought a copy of Walpole's "The Castle of Otranto," which has oft been cited as the founding Gothic novel, so one can imagine my surprise and delight to find it reprinted in this volume, together with Beckford's "Vathek" (less well-known, I suppose) and Polidori's "The Vampyre"(!), as well as a fragment of a novel by George Gordon (Lord Byron) which bears some interesting similarities to the tale of Polidori.

    • Jaime says:

      This book is worth getting if just for Vathek, which is a wonderfully chilling 18th-century Oriental tale. While Walpole's work spurred the development of the Gothic genre, its clunky writing and plot are difficult to stomach. Polidori's "Vampyre" is dreadful, especially in comparison with Byron's intriguing fragment. Essential reading for anyone who wants to see the beginnings of the Gothic and modern horror genres.

    • Carole says:

      Weird and even weirder. Hard to give this a rating. The writing is florid, but deliberately so. The plots are over the top, yet purposefully so, I guess they are successful Gothic creations, thus proving this generation did not invent either bad taste or excess. The most interesting aspect of Frankenstein is the sensitive and articulate "monster", Vathek is just bizarre and "The Monk" makes one want to take a shower and scrub for awhile.

    • Rory says:

      A very neat little collection containing the Castle of Otranto, the very first Gothic novel, Vathek, an interesting Gothic tale with a more exotic setting than most, and The Vampyre, written by John Polidori, Byron's physician whom nobody really liked, but was present at the "contest" of sorts during which Shelley wrote Frankenstein. Here, Polidori wrote the first piece of vampiric prose.

    • Leah says:

      I've read this book several times. I like the fact that it's reasonably priced and that instead of including ,Frankenstein like other "three gothic novels" compilations, it includes Polidori's "The Vampire" and the Bryon fragment. The texts themselves aren't as scholarly as in other editions. However, it does have a fairly detailed introduction, and the typeface is easy to read.

    • Reading Wolf says:

      I was assigned Walpole's tale "The Castle of Otranto" for my Gothic Tale of Terror class. I enjoyed the story although the dialogue was a little hard to follow. The story reminded me of the Knights of the Round Table stories and I couldn't help but see a glimpse of Henry VIII in there as well. This story set the mold for future Gothic tales. The giant helmet bit hooked me from the beginning.

    • Melisa says:

      I have long wanted to read these stories, not so much for the stories, but for what they represent as the start of gothic novels. I have long heard about the castle of otranto particularly and was not disappointed.

    • Melanie says:

      Although it look me longer to read this book than many others, it was pretty interesting. The stories written in the mid 1700's to early 1800's during the peak of the true gothic novels have almost a poetry about them.

    • Mina says:

      The Vampyre is excellent!

    • Jane says:

      Oh, transport!

    • Billy Ceely says:

      I read this for The Castle of Otranto. Has all the good makings of a gothic novel. I enjoyed it.

    • Mike says:

      The Castle of Otranto is a classic and much worth the read. The other two novels lack but do hold their place in literary history.

    • Academama says:

      So far I have read the Walpole. It's ridiculous. Interesting historically, but really terrible.

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