The Castle of Otranto/nightmare Abbey/Vathek, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


With an Introduction by David Stuart Davies. The Gothic novel, featuring dark tales of tragedy, romance, revenge, torture and ancient villainies, tinged with horror and the supernatural, became the vogue in the late eighteen and early nineteenth centuries.

This unique collection presents the best and the most diverse of this fascinating genre. In Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, often regarded as the first true Gothic romance, we have a template for such works, which other writers adopted and adapted.

With its dark cruelties and fiercely passionate dramas, the power of Walpole's prose remains magically potent today. In Vathek William Beckford developed the form further, introducing Orientalism to the Gothic mix of horror and mystery, creating the finest European imitation of the Arabian Nights. With his novel, Nightmare Abbey, Thomas Love Peacock satirises the format to great comic effect while still retaining the essential chilling elements. This fantastic collection runs the gamut of Gothic fiction, presenting an entertaining and a thrilling overview of the genre.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9781840221848


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The Castle of Otranto was very enjoyable. I'd give it 4★. I think his original introduction and premise of its history was quite amusing, and the story was nicely done with the slight bit of fantastical elements you'd expect of a family curse/legend and interesting/amusing characters and intrigue.Vathek I'd give 3.5★. It was a decent read, entertaining, but the Arabian Nights-style repetition got real old, real fast. I got pretty bored with that. The general line of the story though, I thought was good.Nightmare Abbey would receive just 3★. I quite enjoy a nice satire piece, and I can see where Peacock was coming from with it, but... I just found it too over the top, it was a bit irksome and when I put it down one night, I wound up not picking it back up to read the last 30 or so odd pages until around five months later. I just wasn't interested.

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