Three Gothic Novels The Castle of Otranto; Vathek; Frankenstein

ISBN-10: 0140430369

ISBN-13: 9780140430363

Edition: 1986

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Description: The Gothic novel, which flourished from about 1765 until 1825, revels in the horrible and the supernatural, in suspense and exotic settings. This volume, with its erudite introduction by Mario Praz, presents three of the most celebrated Gothic novels: The Castle of Otranto, published pseudonymously in 1765, is one of the first of the genre and the most truly Gothic of the three. Vathek (1786), an oriental tale by an eccentric millionaire, exotically combines Gothic romanticism with the vivacity of The Arabian Nights and is a narrative tour de force. The story of Frankenstein (1818) and the monster he created is as spine-chilling today as it ever was; as in all Gothic novels, horror is the keynote.

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Book details

List price: $16.00
Copyright year: 1986
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/30/1968
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 512
Size: 4.25" wide x 7.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.484
Language: English

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born in England on August 30, 1797. Her parents were two celebrated liberal thinkers, William Godwin, a social philosopher, and Mary Wollstonecraft, a women's rights advocate. Eleven days after Mary's birth, her mother died of puerperal fever. Four motherless years later, Godwin married Mary Jane Clairmont, bringing her and her two children into the same household with Mary and her half-sister, Fanny. Mary's idolization of her father, his detached and rational treatment of their bond, and her step-mother's preference for her own children created a tense and awkward home. Mary's education and free-thinking were encouraged, so it should not surprise us today that at the age of sixteen she ran off with the brilliant, nineteen-year old and unhappily married Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley became her ideal, but their life together was a difficult one. Traumas plagued them: Shelley's wife and Mary's half-sister both committed suicide; Mary and Shelley wed shortly after he was widowed but social disapproval forced them from England; three of their children died in infancy or childhood; and while Shelley was an aristocrat and a genius, he was also moody and had little money. Mary conceived of her magnum opus, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, when she was only nineteen when Lord Byron suggested they tell ghost stories at a house party. The resulting book took over two years to write and can be seen as the brilliant creation of a powerful but tormented mind. The story of Frankenstein has endured nearly two centuries and countless variations because of its timeless exploration of the tension between our quest for knowledge and our thirst for good. Shelley drowned when Mary was only 24, leaving her with an infant and debts. Mary died in 1851 at the age of 54 from a brain tumor.

Horace Walpole was born in London on September 24, 1717 and educated at Eton College and Kings College, Cambridge. Upon his return from college, Walpole was elected to Parliament and served until 1768. He was the youngest son of British Prime Minister, Robert Walpole. He was known as The Earl of Orford. Walpole opened a private press that published his own works and that of his friends. He is well known for his Gothic romance novel, The Castle of Otranto. Horace Walpole died in London on March 2, 1797, after which his title became extinct since he never married or had children.

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