The Castle of Otranto

The Castle of Otranto
by Horace Walpole
Adopted for Conservation by
John McCutcheon and Carmen Agra Deedy
on November 1, 2011
The castle of Otranto, a Gothic story.

The castle of Otranto, : a Gothic story

By Horace Walpole. Parma: Printed by Bodoni, for J. Edwards, bookseller of London, 1791.

First published under a pseudonym and presented as a "found" manuscript in 1764, this fictional work by the son of a British Prime Minister is generally considered the first Gothic novel. This story of ancient prophecy, inheritance and intrigue has many fantastic and romantic elements. Later editions (like this one) were openly attributed to author Horace Walpole in the preface. Our copy has a hidden fore-edge painting (a decorative scene painted directly on the edge of the text block, then gilt) of a landscape.

Condition and Treatment: 

This book has a full calfskin binding with decorative elements on the covers and the spine. Three handcolored engravings illustrating scenes from the novel have been loosely inserted in the book. They are torn and discolored and must be cleaned and repaired. The upper board (the front cover) is fully detached from the book and needs to be reattached; the lower board is loose and the hinge must be reinforced. A custom-made box must be constructed to protect the volume from further damage.

Discover more about this book in our Catalog.

Adoption Type: Preserve for the Future