Melmoth the Wanderer has ratings and reviews. Bill said: There’s an old story told by Ezra Pound–I believe it can be found either in The ABC. Title: Melmoth the Wanderer Author: Charles Robert Maturin * A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook * eBook No.: Language: English Date first. Melmoth the Wanderer (Penguin Classics) [Charles Robert Maturin, Victor Sage] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The 19th-century horror.

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I have long been a rather reluctant fan of gothic horror. How well, really, do any of my favorite works hold up?

Is The Castle of Otranto actually good, or just campy? Is The Monk great literature?

Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Maturin – a gothic matryoshka

Gothic horror usually revolves around the sinister absence of God inside some religious framework. Any benefits to leading a religious life seem to be completely erased in these stories, with paranoia and persecution complexes to take their place.

The only character with any power of personality happens, more often than not, to be the devil himself. Maturin, an Irish clergyman and great-uncle to Oscar Wilde, wrote the book inat the height of the vogue for gothic romance. By teh end of the nineteenth century, the book had taken on cult status. Balzac wrote a sequel to it. What was it in the tye that spoke to them so deeply?


Melmoth opens with a deathbed scene: The young John Melmoth leaves Trinity College to attend the wajderer of his dying uncle, a superstitious miser. Young Melmoth happens to see a portrait of one of his ancestors, dated There are many things about this scene that feel familiar in retrospect.

The portrait, the equation of agelessness with evil, the quiet foreboding: He moves restlessly around the world, trying to foist it onto someone else. But Melmoth is a bit of a false devil, interesting only in that he is indecipherable. In fact, Melmoth is more an action hero than a horror villain. He is defined by his movements, by the fact that he is, like the cyber-villains of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liarseverywhere and nowhere.

And this archetype—the faceless villain whose evil stems from a great burden of personality—is perhaps the only aspect of gothic horror that carries over into present-day storytelling. It makes sense, in this light, that Wilde would have tje deeply identified with the character.

Gothic Horror and the Odd Appeal of “Melmoth the Wanderer”

The devil in exile: Wilde made enemies in conversation throughout his entire life, and ended his life in complete exile. Melmoth, as a character, feels like a prediction of how his story would end. Wilde, no doubt pining for his sons, invited fifteen small boys of the neighborhood, along with with cure, the postman, the schoolmaster, and other local worthies.


He got Bonnet to decorate the banqueting room at the Hotel de la Plage with colored lamps and English flags. The children were given strawberries and cream, apricots, chocolates, cakes, and grenadine syrup.

Each child was allowed to choose a present; six chose accordions, five trumpets and four bugles. The postman got an accordion. Perhaps Wilde never hoped to find anonymity in France.

In the seemingly inherited sense of doom passed on from his uncle, he found a way to live. He made Melmoth his own.

Rather than existing as a symbol of fear, the devil becomes a point of access. From the Penguin Classics edition of Melmoth. An illustration from charlea Melmoth playscript by B.