Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
*Strawberry Hill. Real country estate near London that Walpole himself remodeled into a fake, or forged, “Gothic” castle. His new building looked like the fictional castle, but it was constructed out of modern materials of the time rather than medieval stone. Walpole wrote his story in this house following several nights of haunting nightmares that were probably brought on by overwork. His father was the famous prime minister Robert Walpole, so that the weight of the past was felt personally and artistically.
Church of St. Nicolas. Otranto church. On the title page of the novel, Walpole identifies this location in the Otranto principality as the place where the original text in Italian was published. This literary hoax, or forgery, is supported by significant front matter written by Walpole about the finding and translation of the medieval story for his English audience. It is all wonderful misplacing, or literary artifice, and as such is a textual equivalent of the artificial and yet genuinely haunting pleasures of the Strawberry Hill estate where, in an adjoining personal printing house, Walpole produced the first edition of the book.
*Holy Land. Eastern Mediterranean region in which Christianity arose that is the target location for the medieval Crusades. It is also the place where the crushing events that drive the story took place. The exotic East was always of importance in the writing of the eighteenth century.
*Falconara. Sicilian principality that neighbors Otranto in which there is no crushing ancestral pressure. Thus by contrast the civility of this estate expresses the heavy emotionalism of Otranto.