This article argues that Walpole’s Gothic novel (The Castle of Otranto), drama (The Mysterious Mother), and castle (Strawberry Hill) mark the emergence of modern spaces of illusion, which foster subjects and communities whose identity is based on taste or desire rather than need and, to that extent, on performance rather than pre-existing substance. I conclude this article by suggesting that if we are willing to entertain an expansive sense of reality, which includes the virtually real as one of its active agents, it is possible to rethink not only Walpole’s oeuvre but also the Gothic genres and styles (in literature, drama, and architecture) that he foreshadows, while bringing them into dialogue with the rapidly multiplying virtual realities of our own time.


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pp. 681-706
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