First published in 1764, Horace Walpole's "The Castle of Otranto" is generally regarded as the first gothic novel, a work which blended supernatural and fantastical elements with realistic characters and events. Heralding in a new and immensely popular literary style, the novel purports to be the true story of Manfred, lord of the Italian Castle Otranto during medieval times, who out of concern for carrying on his lineage attempts to marry off his son to the young and beautiful Princess Isabella. When a tragic and supernatural accident kills his son on his wedding day, a desperate Manfred will stop at nothing to wed Isabella himself and ensure the continuation of his line. The innocent Isabella flees Manfred's foul clutches and is aided by the poor and honorable Theodore, who is not what he seems to be. Many of the elements that would come to define the gothic genre are present here in exciting abundance: secret passages, ghostly interventions, hidden identities, frightening coincidences, and violent confrontations. "The Castle of Otranto" is a chilling gothic masterpiece that has inspired countless writers and thrilled readers for generations since its first appearance. This edition is printed on premium acid-free paper with an introduction by Sir Walter Scott.