Many interesting facts in this post from Interesting Literature. The Gothic novel has long been a favorite with me. More surprising and interesting, however, is the idea that even in the 18th century, readers had a preference for a true story over a fictional one.
The early Gothic novelists are an interesting lot. Matthew Lewis, known for his 1796 novel The Monk, wrote his will on a servant’s hat while dying on board a ship from Jamaica to the UK. William Beckford wrote the bestselling Gothic novel Vathek in French in 1782, with the English version being translated by a vicar four years later. Beckford was tutored in music by none other than Mozart for a short while – a product of his vast family fortune (built on the proceeds from Jamaican sugar plantations), comprising some £114 million in today’s money as well as Fonthill (where Beckford had the famous abbey built).
But neither Beckford nor Lewis can claim the honour of writing the first Gothic novel. That accolade goes to a third man, Horace Walpole, who was the son of the first de facto Prime Minister of Britain, Robert Walpole. But the odd thing…
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