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Nightmare Abbey & Crotchet Castle (Penguin Classics) [Spanish] [Paperback]

Thomas Love Peacock , Raymond Wright
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jun 1969
Two 19th-century novels satirize romanticism, political theories, and society through witty dialogue.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New impression edition (Jun 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140430458
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140430455
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 12.9 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 377,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
NOVELS that depend for their comic or satiric effect on the interplay of ideas and opinions are rare and the reader coming new to Peacock is disconcerted at finding that he cannot be fitted into any traditional pattern. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two hilarious satires. 31 Dec 2000
Peacock's satirical novels mock various aspects of nineteenth century life; Nightmare Abbey (1818) examines the romantic movement of the early nineteenth century and Crotchet Castle (1831) pokes fun at the political economists and scientific philosophers of the same era.
Most of the principal characters in Nightmare Abbey are based on real life figures who were known to Peacock. He was a close friend of Shelley, who was caricatured as the hero of Nightmare Abbey. The book is very readable today both because of the alternative slant we see on people (Byron and Coleridge as well as Shelley) whose works many of us will have read and because Peacock's works are genuinely funny. This is one of the few books that makes me laugh aloud.
Crotchet Castle is, perhaps, less accessible to us, as few of us will be as interested in the characters mimiced in the novel. It is still extremely amusing though, and Peacock's portrayal of fly-by-night business men will surely be valid for centuries to come.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pandemonium ensues! 29 Mar 2007
Thomas Love Peacock invented the novel of ideas, which sees the coming together in one place of a number of "opinionated faddists" with diametrically opposite views for the purpose of a "good dinner" and good light-hearted satire.

Here are two of his best attempts, Nightmare Abbey and Crotchet Castle, where the assembled faddists between them disseminate and discredit the intricacies of contemporary artistic and political culture. Nightmare Abbey sees Scythrop (gloomy-face) Glowry play host to an assortment of morbid and eccentric caricatures including those of Mr. Flosky (Coleridge) and Cypress (Byron) all chasing, or being chased by, ghosts, mermaids, drunken French valets and good dinners served up on a plate of classical allusion, metaphysical obscurity and a wilful lack of common-sense. Crotchet Castle, the later work, provides more of the stock Peacock scene with characters this time focused on dismantling any serious conceptions of industry and political economy.

Peacock's characters are all joyously tangled up in their own obsessions, ranging from Kantian Transcendentalism to Ichthyology, and which invariably send them into either verbal collisions around the dinner-table or a more crudely pantomime type, colliding and banging down stairs "like two billiard-balls in one pocket". He has a great sense for the absurd and has me laughing out loud over an otherwise assumedly unpromising collection of comedy characters.

Peacock was labelled `the laughing philosopher' in his time, and prided himself on his wide knowledge of classical literature and an Epicurean sensibility, but don't let this put you off. His novels are pure nonsense; they're a veritable rag-bag of farce, romantic idealism, philosophical absurdity all coloured with contemporary allusions and harmless rib-jabbing at what he saw as the unnecessary ideologico-scientifico- improbabo-historico-distractions from the simple and natural virtues of "a very good dinner."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good 13 Jun 2010
Do not be put off with the comments that a reader must be well-learned in the Classics and the literature of this time to understand this book. I had never read Peacock before and read it online, with no notes or commentary, and although there are many Latin quotations and some obscure references, do not give up. If you are really interested in works from this time period (Shelley, Byron, Coleridge, Gothic, and Romantic) then persevere and it will pay off. I do not know what the notes are like in this edition, but the Latin and Greek phrases used are mostly well known so just typing them into google will give you their meaning. And you may find yourself becoming a little better learned in such phrases - however I had not yet used them in conversation so I am not sure how anyone I am talking to would respond to the use of *charivari* (hubbub) or *taedium vitae*.
Peacock appears to be a great lover of words, using many obscure words, and, as a Classical scholar, has coined many Greek-esque words for an amusing effect: hyperoxysophistical (over specious) being one of them. But do not let them scare you, usually they are used in the context of mocking the character, and in this case, it is used more for the obscurity and complex length of the word to mock the complexity and obscurity of the metaphysics of Mr. Flosky (Coleridge), than its particular meaning. For example:

I will take it for granted that it is so, Mr Flosky; I am not conversant with metaphysical subtleties, but---

Subtleties! my dear Miss O'Carroll.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious satire 29 Dec 2013
By Didier TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thomas Love Peacock is (or was) one of the few better-known authors from this period whom I hadn't read anything of, so two books in one volume ('Nightmare Abbey' and 'Crotchet Castle') seemed like the perfect start. And I must say, they are both unlike anything I've ever read! To call them novels would be stretching a point, since there is just the flimsiest of plots, though they do center around a number of fictitious (albeit based in some cases on actual people). Neither could one say that they are essays, though they do present a number of critical thoughts on different topics: 'dark' romanticism in the case of 'Nightmare Abbey', and political economy and scientific progress ('rationalism' one might say) in 'Crotchet Castle'.

In both cases the set-up is similar: the bulk of both books consists of the animated and lively discussions of a number of people on the topics mentioned above. I realize this may sound awfully boring, but rest assured it is anything but that. First of all, the characters are most often more like stereotypes, embodying certain beliefs and principles, and the fact that they do so to an extreme degree and are unable/unwilling to consider a different point of view makes their conversations absolutely delightful and often hilariously funny. True enough, some of the characters are based on actual people Peacock knew (such as Shelley) but, though it may increase the pleasure if you're familiar with Shelley's biography, this is by no means necessary to enjoy the books. On top of the delicious dialogue and conversations, Thomas Love Peacock has a knack of introducing elements of situational comedy which makes for laugh-out-loud moments.
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