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Imagining the Undefined Castle in The Castle of Otranto: Engravings and Interpretations

Lindfield, PN (2017) Imagining the Undefined Castle in The Castle of Otranto: Engravings and Interpretations. Image & Narrative, 18 (3). pp. 46-63. ISSN 1780-678X

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Abstract

The Castle of Otranto was a pioneering work: the second edition is the first piece of literary work to include “a Gothic story” in its title, and it is frequently held up as the first in a long line of Gothic novels. Literary scholars have afforded it significant attention, but little has been written about Otranto’s range of engraved illustrations, first incorporated in the sixth, 1791, edition. This essay examines how the novel was visualised through Georgian engravings, and questions whether they present a castle that we can immediately recognise, to use Walpole’s phrase, as a “child of Strawberry [Hill]”, his Gothic villa.

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