Three Gothic Novels

The Castle of Otranto; Vathek; Frankenstein

Introduction by Mario Praz
Paperback
$18.00 US
5.1"W x 7.77"H x 0.92"D  
On sale Dec 30, 1968 | 512 Pages | 978-0-14-043036-3
| Grades 9-12 + AP/IB
Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, Beckford's Vathek, and Shelley's Frankenstein

The Gothic novel, which flourished from about 1765 until 1825, revels in the horrible and the supernatural, in suspense and exotic settings. This volume, with its erudite introduction by Mario Praz, presents three of the most celebrated Gothic novels: The Castle of Otranto, published pseudonymously in 1765, is one of the first of the genre and the most truly Gothic of the three. Vathek (1786), an oriental tale by an eccentric millionaire, exotically combines Gothic romanticism with the vivacity of The Arabian Nights and is a narrative tour de force. The story of Frankenstein (1818) and the monster he created is as spine-chilling today as it ever was; as in all Gothic novels, horror is the keynote.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
HORATIO WALPOLE, 4th Earl of Orford (1717-1797), also known as Horace Walpole, was an English art historian, man of letters, antiquarian, printer/publisher, and Whig politician. He wrote the first gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto, and is famous for his correspondence and for his Gothic Revival villa, Strawberry Hill, and its vast art and book collections. View titles by Horace Walpole
Mary Shelley was born in London in 1797, daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, famous radical writers of the day. Mary’s mother died tragically ten days after the birth. Under Godwin’s conscientious and expert tuition, Mary’s was an intellectually stimulating childhood, though she often felt misunderstood by her stepmother and neglected by her father. In 1814 she met and soon fell in love with the then unknown Percy Bysshe Shelley, and in July they eloped to the Continent. In December 1816, after Shelley’s first wife, Harriet, committed suicide, Mary and Percy married. Of the four children she bore Shelley, only Percy Florence survived. They lived in Italy from 1818 until 1822, when Shelley drowned following the sinking of his boat Ariel in a storm. Mary returned with Percy Florence to London, where she continued to live as a professional writer until her death in 1851.
The idea for Frankenstein came to Mary Godwin during a summer sojourn in 1816 with Percy Shelley on the shores of Lake Geneva, where Lord Byron was also staying. She was inspired to begin her unique tale after Byron suggested a ghost story competition. Byron himself produced “A Fragment,” which later inspired his physician John Polidori to write The Vampyre. Mary completed her short story back in England, and it was published as Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus in 1818. Among her other novels are The Last Man (1826), a dystopian story set in the twenty-first century, The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck (1830), Lodore (1835), and Falkner (1837). As well as contributing many stories and essays to publications such as the Keepsake and the Westminster Review, she wrote numerous biographical essays for Lardner’s Cabinet Cyclopaedia (1835, 1838–39). Her other books include the first collected edition of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Poetical Works (4 vols., 1839) and a book based on the Continental travels she undertook with her son Percy Florence and his friends, Rambles in Germany and Italy (1844). Mary Shelley died in London on February 1, 1851. View titles by Mary Shelley

About

Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, Beckford's Vathek, and Shelley's Frankenstein

The Gothic novel, which flourished from about 1765 until 1825, revels in the horrible and the supernatural, in suspense and exotic settings. This volume, with its erudite introduction by Mario Praz, presents three of the most celebrated Gothic novels: The Castle of Otranto, published pseudonymously in 1765, is one of the first of the genre and the most truly Gothic of the three. Vathek (1786), an oriental tale by an eccentric millionaire, exotically combines Gothic romanticism with the vivacity of The Arabian Nights and is a narrative tour de force. The story of Frankenstein (1818) and the monster he created is as spine-chilling today as it ever was; as in all Gothic novels, horror is the keynote.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Author

HORATIO WALPOLE, 4th Earl of Orford (1717-1797), also known as Horace Walpole, was an English art historian, man of letters, antiquarian, printer/publisher, and Whig politician. He wrote the first gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto, and is famous for his correspondence and for his Gothic Revival villa, Strawberry Hill, and its vast art and book collections. View titles by Horace Walpole
Mary Shelley was born in London in 1797, daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, famous radical writers of the day. Mary’s mother died tragically ten days after the birth. Under Godwin’s conscientious and expert tuition, Mary’s was an intellectually stimulating childhood, though she often felt misunderstood by her stepmother and neglected by her father. In 1814 she met and soon fell in love with the then unknown Percy Bysshe Shelley, and in July they eloped to the Continent. In December 1816, after Shelley’s first wife, Harriet, committed suicide, Mary and Percy married. Of the four children she bore Shelley, only Percy Florence survived. They lived in Italy from 1818 until 1822, when Shelley drowned following the sinking of his boat Ariel in a storm. Mary returned with Percy Florence to London, where she continued to live as a professional writer until her death in 1851.
The idea for Frankenstein came to Mary Godwin during a summer sojourn in 1816 with Percy Shelley on the shores of Lake Geneva, where Lord Byron was also staying. She was inspired to begin her unique tale after Byron suggested a ghost story competition. Byron himself produced “A Fragment,” which later inspired his physician John Polidori to write The Vampyre. Mary completed her short story back in England, and it was published as Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus in 1818. Among her other novels are The Last Man (1826), a dystopian story set in the twenty-first century, The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck (1830), Lodore (1835), and Falkner (1837). As well as contributing many stories and essays to publications such as the Keepsake and the Westminster Review, she wrote numerous biographical essays for Lardner’s Cabinet Cyclopaedia (1835, 1838–39). Her other books include the first collected edition of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Poetical Works (4 vols., 1839) and a book based on the Continental travels she undertook with her son Percy Florence and his friends, Rambles in Germany and Italy (1844). Mary Shelley died in London on February 1, 1851. View titles by Mary Shelley

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