This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book offers a range of essays that demonstrate the importance of translation and European writing in the development of the Gothic novel, a vampire-like phenomenon that thrives on the blood of others. It investigates the relationship between the political, biographical and autobiographical content of Mary Shelley's second novel, Valperga, set in medieval Italy and concerned with the struggle for power between the Guelph and Ghibelene factions. The book examines the representation of ritual violence, as sanctioned by the Catholic Church, in English and Spanish pictorial and literary texts between 1796 and 1834. It argues that the projection of certain characteristics upon the Catholic 'other' in early Gothic fiction had much to do with the 'proto-nationalism' of the eighteenth century and a post-Reformation Europhobia.