Fantasies of Antiquity
Once upon a time, the first and second editions of Horace Walpole’s novel The Castle of Otranto (1764 [Otranto]) included the title pages below (Figures 0.1 and 0.2).
Some of the differences between these two editions merit attention for scholars and fans of both classical antiquity and modern fantasy. To begin with, the first edition offers the simple subtitle “A Story,” whereas the second edition is subtitled “A Gothic Story.” The addition of the adjective “Gothic” asserts a generic affiliation. What precisely ‘Gothic’ meant at the time and has meant since is beyond our scope here, but for our purposes, it is important to note that Gothic fiction is one of the feeder genres, and more recently subgenres, of a larger category that emerged in the eighteenth century: what Joseph Addison in 1712 called “the fairy way of writing” and what we now call—by way of an ancient Greek term for the faculty of imagination—‘modern fantasy’ (MF)....
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