For scholars of the Gothic, thinking about buildings and books together is an ingrained habit. Not only did Gothic fiction emerge alongside the Gothic architectural revival, but the author of the first self-proclaimed “Gothic tale” was also the builder of what he called a “little Gothic castle.” Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill, the villa he transformed into an ersatz relic of the architectural past, is thus permanently linked in the critical memory with the ghost-ridden medieval structure he conjured up in The Castle of Otranto (1764). The many later romances that followed in the footsteps of Otranto often also wore their architectural features on their sleeves—or, rather, on their title pages, where “castles,” “ruins,” and “abbeys” proliferated for decades after Walpole's pioneering experiment. Among the pleasures of Townshend's formidably erudite book is the thoroughness with which it revitalizes this by now automatic coupling. Townshend shows that Gothic structures and Gothic romances...

You do not currently have access to this content.