the story of Gothic – strane storie in luoghi misteriosi

Horace Walpole (1717-97) was the  youngest son of the prime minister Sir Robert Walpole. Educated at Eton and Cambridge, he toured the Continent (Grand Tour) with his friend Thomas Gray from 1739 to 1741, when the two quarrelled (= litigarono) . He entered the  Parliament in 1741,where he worked without great distinction. His main interests were travelling, friends and the country house he bought  In 1747. Walpole named it Strawberry Hill : it was a pseudo-Gothic castle near Twickenham  which soon became the showplace (=posto alla moda)  of England. Reconciled with Gray he started printing (= a stampare) privately the poet’s  collections in the mansion, as well as many first editions of his own works. in 1791 H.  Walpole became the 4th Earl of Orford, and the title died with him in 1797.

He anticipated the Romantic Movement of the 19th century with his Gothic novel  The Castle of Otranto (1765). Other works were Historic Doubts on Richard III (1768), an attempt (= tentativo) to rehabilitate the character of Richard; Anecdotes of Painting in England (1762-71); Reminiscences(1798, posthumous) and Memoirs of the reigns of George II (1822) and George III (1845, 1859). But his literary reputation rests (= sta)  on his over 3,000 letters which cover the  period from 1732 to 1797 and give precious pictures of Georgian England.

The first edtion of The Castle of Otranto had the following title: The Castle of Otranto, A Story. Translated by William Marshal, Gent. From the Original Italian of Onuphrio Muralto, Canon of the Church of St. Nicholas at Otranto. In the preface Horace Walpole wrote:

“The following work (= romanzo)  was found in the library of an ancient Catholic family in the north of England.  It was printed at Naples, in the black letter (=carattere Gotico) in the year 1529.  How much sooner it was written does not appear.  The principal incidents are such as were believed in the darkest ages (= Medio Evo)  of Christianity; but the language and conduct have nothing that savours4 of (= non risente ) barbarism.  The style is the [5] purest Italian.”

The work proved to be successful and the  following edition were signed by H. Walpole himself