'Visions have always been...my pasture. I almost think there is no wisdom comparable to that of exchanging the realities of life for dreams. Old castles, old pictures, old histories take one back into centuries that cannot disappoint. I waked one morning from a dream of which all I could recover was that I had thought myself in an ancient castle and that on the uppermost banister of a great staircase I saw a gigantic hand in armour. In the evening I sat down to write, without knowing in the least what I intended to say or relate. The work grew on my hands and I grew fond of it - in short I was so engrossed with my tale, which I completed in less than two months, that one evening I wrote till I could not hold the pen to finish the sentence!' (Horace Walpole)
The action in The Castle of Otranto never ceases. It is set against the murky background of Gothic battlements where enchanted helmets and swords fall as the villain rants and raves. The heroine escapes his clutches through a musty trapdoor into a chill underground cavern, helped by a mysterious hero of strange origin and a friar who is not all he seems. Will truth and justice triumph? Enjoy the original Gothic thriller leavened with wit and timeless humour and find out.
This recording is a little noisy but not too bad. Interesting to listen too historically but perhaps not riveting for modern audiences.
While this may have given rise to gothic literature - and we should be very grateful for that - this novella is pretty dire and the production values sadly match. Steer clear!
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