The Castle of Otranto is regarded as the first Gothic novel. The son of Manfred, Prince of Otranto, is mysteriously killed on his wedding day by a huge helmet. The event leads to a fast-paced story of jealous passion, intrigue, murder, and supernatural phenomena unfolding in an atmosphere of thunderclaps, moonlight, and dark castle walls mirroring the inner turmoil of the characters themselves. Horace Walpole's tale, an immediate success when it first appeared in 1764, is a classic of its genre.
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