Horace Walpole

Horace Walpole

Horace Walpole is known mostly as the inventor of the Gothic literary novel. He was a politician, writer, and architectural innovator, as well as the youngest son of Sir Robert Walpole, leader of the Whig party, Prime Minister and Chancchellor of the Exequer. When he moved to a new home, he called it Strawberry Hill and fixed it up to resemble a gothic castle, which started an archetectural trend. He also started his own printing press there in 1757.

  • Nationality: English
  • Birth Date: 24 Sept 1717
  • Death Date: 2 Mar 1797
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The Castle of Otranto (1765)
The Castle of Otranto is considered the first "gothic" novel, a genre that loves melodrama, mystery, hidden places, ancestral curses, and fainting heroines. Its roots are the "romance," which was a tale of heroism (not love as it is now known), and the Romantic movement in literature, which focused on emotion and the sublimity of nature. When The Castle of Otranto was first published, it was said to be a translation of a lost medieval transcript, and received positive attention. But when it was next published, the truth was revealed--that the story was quite modern and written by a priviledged author. Critics then panned it, but it survives today as the seminal Gothic literary novel.