Facilitated by Dr. Holly Welker 


On Sunday, October 3, 2021, 10 JASNA Greater Phoenix members and friends gathered virtually, via Zoom, to discuss The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole (1764).

Tragic tales of doomed romance and supernatural horror, often set in baroque castles, have thrilled readers for centuries. But many modern-day fans of gothic literature may not be familiar with the 18th-century novel that inspired the genre. The roots of the genre can be traced back to the publication of Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto – a work whose aesthetics have shaped gothic books, films, art, and music, as well as the goth subculture. Our own Jane Austen was perhaps no exception:

 “The storm still raged, and various were the noises, more terrific even than the wind, which struck at intervals on her startled ear. The very curtains of her bed seemed at one moment in motion, and at another the lock of her door was agitated, as if by the attempt of somebody to enter. Hollow murmurs seemed to creep along the gallery, and more than once her blood was chilled by the sound of distant moans.”

(Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey)