Read Three Gothic Novels: The Castle of Otranto, Vathek, The Vampyre, and a Fragment of a Novel by E.F. Bleiler Free Online
Book Title: Three Gothic Novels: The Castle of Otranto, Vathek, The Vampyre, and a Fragment of a Novel|
The author of the book: E.F. Bleiler
Edition: Dover Publications
Date of issue: June 1st 1966
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Reader ratings: 5.9
ISBN 13: 9780486212326
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 589 KB
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One of the most interesting phenomena in the history of literature, the Gothic novel — which flourished from about 1765 to 1825 — still has much to offer to the modern reader. Supernatural thrills, adventure and suspense, colorful settings, and, in the better examples, literary quality are all present. Unfortunately, true Gothic novels (not simply modern detective stories called "Gothic") are extremely rare books, and have never been as available as they should be.The first member in this collection, Horace Walpole's TheCastle of Otranto, published as a Christmas book for 1764, was the first and one of the greatest members of the genre. It has also been one of the most influential books in history. It motivated the Gothic revival in the arts, and it probably did more to usher in the early-19th-century Romanticism than any other single work. It also served as the model in plot, characterizations, settings, and tone for hundreds, perhaps thousands of successors.
Vathek, by the eccentric British millionaire William Beckford, is generally considered to be the high point of the Oriental tale in English literature. Certainly no one has ever written (in any European tongue) a story which better unifies the stirrings of Gothic romanticism with the color, poetry, and vivacity of the original Arabian Nights.The third novel in this collection, John Polidor's Vampyre, emerged from the same soirées of ghost-story telling in Geneva that produced Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The first full-length vampire story in English, it initiated a very important literary chain that also leads up to the present. Included with Polidori's novel is Lord Byron's little-known Fragment, from which Polidori (who was Byron's physician in Switzerland) plagiarized his plot.These three novels (and the fragment) are still well worth reading. Generations of readers have found thrills and horrors in Walpole's fine work, while Vathek cannot be excelled in its unusual mixture of the bizarre, cruel irony, and masterful narration. Polidori's thriller still conveys chills, and the Fragment makes us all wish that Byron had completed his novel.
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Read information about the authorEverett Franklin Bleiler (April 30, 1920 – June 13, 2010) was an editor, bibliographer, and scholar of science fiction, detective fiction, and fantasy literature. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, he co-edited the first "year's best" series of science fiction anthologies, and his Checklist of Fantastic Literature has been called "the foundation of modern SF bibliography". Among his other scholarly works are two Hugo Award–nominated volumes concerning early science fiction—Science-Fiction: The Early Years and Science-Fiction: The Gernsback Years—and the massive Guide to Supernatural Fiction.
Bleiler worked at Dover Publications from 1955, becoming executive vice-president of the company from 1967 until he left the company in 1977; he then worked for Charles Scribner's Sons until 1987. He edited a number of ghost story collections for Dover, containing what the genre historian Mike Ashley has described as "detailed and exemplary introductions".
Bleiler received the Pilgrim Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction scholarship in 1984, the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1988, the First Fandom Hall of Fame award in 1994, and the International Horror Guild Living Legend award in 2004.
Bleiler wrote two works of fiction: the fantasy novel Firegang: A Mythic Fantasy (2006), set in the tree of Yggdrasil as well as moving across time and space, and Magistrate Mai and the Invisible Murderer (2006), a detective story set in ancient China, similar to the work of Robert Van Gulik.
Bleiler's son, Richard, is also a science fiction historian and assisted his father on several of his works.