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Book Title: Melmoth the Wanderer|
The author of the book: Charles Robert Maturin
Edition: Penguin Books
Date of issue: May 2012
ISBN 13: 9780141199290
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 485 KB
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The Penguin English Library Edition of Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Maturin
'My hour is come ... the clock of eternity is about to strike, but its knell must be unheard by mortal ears!'
This violent, profound, baroque and blackly humorous novel is the story of Melmoth, who has sold his soul in exchange for immortality in a satanic bargain, and now preys on the helpless in their darkest moments, offering to ease their suffering if they will take his place and release him from his centuries of tortured wanderings. Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) blended Gothic fiction and psychological realism to create a work of hallucinatory power.
The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
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Read information about the authorCharles Maturin was an Irish Protestant clergyman (ordained by the Church of Ireland) and a writer of gothic plays and novels.
His first three works were published under the pseudonym Dennis Jasper Murphy and were critical and commercial failures. They did, however, catch the attention of Sir Walter Scott, who recommended Maturin's work to Lord Byron. With the help of these two literary luminaries, the curate's play, Bertram (first staged on 9 May 1816 at the Drury Lane for 22 nights) with Edmund Kean starring in the lead role as Bertram, saw a wider audience and became a success. Financial success, however, eluded Maturin, as the play's run coincided with his father's unemployment and another relative's bankruptcy, both of them assisted by the fledgling writer. To make matters worse, Samuel Taylor Coleridge publicly denounced the play as dull and loathsome, and "melancholy proof of the depravation of the public mind", going nearly so far as to decry it as atheistic. Coleridge's comments on Bertram can also be found in 'Biographia Literaria', chapter 23. The Church of Ireland took note of these and earlier criticisms and, having discovered the identity of Bertram's author (Maturin had shed his nom de plume to collect the profits from the play), subsequently barred Maturin's further clerical advancement. Forced to support his wife and four children by writing (his salary as curate was £80-90 per annum, compared to the £1000 he made for Bertram), he switched back from playwright to novelist after a string of his plays met with failure. One of his grandsons, Basil W. Maturin, a Chaplain at Oxford University, died in the sinking of RMS Lusitania in 1915.
Charles Robert Maturin died in Dublin on 30 October 1824. Honoré de Balzac and Charles Baudelaire later expressed fondness for Maturin's work, particularly his most famous novel, Melmoth the Wanderer.
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