Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 July 2020
This chapter argues that as Shakespeare was canonised as Britain’s national poet from 1660 through to the end of the eighteenth century, so editors and critics increasingly presented him as bourgeois and respectable, minimising the plays’ barbarous violence, ghosts and witches – their ‘Gothic’ elements. Between 1764 and 1768, Horace Walpole wrote The Castle of Otranto (a novel/romance hybrid), Historic Doubts on the Life and Reign of King Richard the Third (a revisionist history) and The Mysterious Mother (a Shakespearean blank-verse tragedy), three different genres that variously appropriate and rework Shakespeare. Confronting the national poet, the argument holds, enabled him to work through his fears of illegitimacy, the sense that he had no claim to being the trueborn son of the powerful Sir Robert Walpole and the implied adultery of his beloved mother. His reading of Hamlet’s anger and loathing of his mother Gertrude’s behaviour unconsciously facilitated Horace Walpole’s invention of ‘Gothic Story’, which he located within the walls of an ancient castle haunted by the family secrets generated by the laws of patriarchy.
To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.
To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.
To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.