"The Castle of Otranto" (1765) 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.
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