Saturday, April 18, 2015

A-Z: O is for the The Castle of Otranto & P is for The String of Pearls

The letters I'm posting for today is O & P for the A-Z Challenge. O was not easy so I decided on the The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, published in 1784.  And for P, I've decided to feature one of my favorites, The String of Pearls.

"The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole"

Although this one is not a true penny dreadful, The Castle of Otranto, an original Gothic novel, fueled many of the great Gothic horror stories such as Dracula and Frankenstein.  In addition to these classics, it also lead to many Gothic penny dreadfuls in the 19th century.  According to the British Library, the story is about "Manfred, the prince of Otranto, who is keen to secure the castle for his descendants in the face of a mysterious curse. The novel begins with the death of Manfred’s son, Conrad, who is crushed to death by an enormous helmet on the morning of his wedding to the beautiful princess Isabella. Faced with the extinction of his line, Manfred vows to divorce his wife and marry the terrified Isabella himself."  The novel was responsible for creating some of the many Gothic horror supernatural elements we us today such as, "secret passages, clanging trapdoors, hidden identities and vulnerable heroines fleeing from men with evil intent."   

Where can I get a copy of The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole?

Get your free e-copy of The Castle of Otranto via Gutenberg.  Wahoo!  I love Free shit!

"The String of Pearls"

Edward Lloyd's The People's Periodical and Family Library, first published The String of Pearls penny dreadful serial in 1847.  The famous tale, also known as Sweeney Todd, the Barber on Fleet Street (a.k.a. The Demon Barber) had two authors linked to the writing, James Malcolm Rymer and Thomas Peckett Prest.  For those that aren't familiar with the Demon Barber's story, its about a bitter barber who slits the throats of his patrons and robs them of their personal property.  The remains of the dead customers are then put into a pie by Margery Lovett as depicted in the illustrations below.  The story is a love story and is quite more involved than that description I gave you.  I've read the book and reviewed it here and also had the chance to see Tim Burton's musical version featuring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Alan Rickman.  I found both the original penny dreadful and the movie exceptional!

Where can I get a copy of The String of Pearls?

A copy of the The String of Pearls can be found at ManyBooks here.

Have you had a chance to read either one of these creepy classics?  I haven't read The Castle of Otranto yet, but it's on my must-read TBR list!

Mina Burrows


Sarah Foster said...

Love these choices! I read The Castle of Otranto in college, and I've loved Sweeney Todd ever since I saw the Tim Burton movie. I've been meaning to read the original story!

S. L. Hennessy said...

The Castle of Ortranto is one of my favorite favorite gothics!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm going to snag the first one.
Saw the movie Sweeney Todd. A testament as to why revenge is never sweet.

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

Huh, I never knew String of Pearls was the original title... Also, when the movie came out, Hungarian audiences were so baffled that it was a musical... :D

@TarkabarkaHolgy from
Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

Click said...

I love that you can get so many classic books via Project Gutenberg, and so does my bank balance!

I wasn't aware that Sweeney Todd was in the old Penny Dreadfuls. I'll definitely have to get a copy of that at some point.

Cait @ Click's Clan

djinnia said...

I did not know Sweeney was a penny dreadful! Love that.

Saw the movie version with Ben Kingsley and a stage production with Angela Landsbury as well as the Johnny Depp one.

Great post today!

Nick Wilford said...

Sweeney Todd must be one of the most enduring penny dreadfuls though I didn't know the original title. The Burton movie was great. The Castle of Otranto - I've heard of it, but not much more. I'll grab a copy.

cleemckenzie said...

I learned something today.. I had no idea Sweeney Todd had so many different titles. These Dreadfuls are wonderful to read about. I may have to actually read some now.

Sophie Duncan said...

I've heard of the Castle of Ortanto and its place in the gothic literature history, but had no idea what it was about before :).

I like the Tim Burton adaptation of Sweeney Todd, and there was a brilliant version on British TV before that starring Ray Winstone.

Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
Wittegen Press