- Paperback: 704 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (25 May 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 014044761X
- ISBN-13: 978-0140447613
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 93,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Melmoth the Wanderer (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 25 May 2000
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About the Author
Charles Robert Maturin (1782-1824) was born in Dublin and educated at Trinity College. He took orders and worked as a curate in Loughrea and Dublin. Maturin enjoyed literary success with his Gothic novels and a tragedy 'Bertram' (1816). His later plays and fiction, including MELMOTH THE WANDERER, were neglected and he died in poverty. Victor Sage is Reader in Literature in the School of English and American Studies at the University of East Anglia.
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Top Customer Reviews
There are a lot of virtues in the book. Maturin has amusing ways of seeing life - a miser's handwriting is `that perpendicular and penurious hand, that seems determined the most of the very paper, thriftily abridging every word, and leaving scarce an atom of writing' (P.24). Another example is his condemnation of monastic life as `that pretence of a wish to assist, without the power, or even the wish, that is so flattering both to the weak minds that exercise it, and the weaker on whom it is exercised.' (P.122) - note `pretence' has the older meaning of `aspiration'. When describing a lengthy period of effort driven on by terror, he cuts short his descriptive account with the pithy `terror has no diary' (P. 213). Here he describes the problem of calculating in solitary confinement: `I began to think that I could keep time as accurately as any clock.... So I sat and counted sixty; a doubt always occurred to me, that I was counting them faster than the clock. Then I wished to be the clock, that I might have no feeling, no motive for hurrying on the approach of time. Then I reckoned slower.' (P.162).Read more ›
Beautifully written, immesely evocative, each of the stories within is worthy of publication alone, the sum is a masterpiece.
However, as your common or garden reading-material it's possibly the most depressing thing I've ever read. It takes the floridity of the genre to its full extent - and then out the other side. It involves very few characters that are actually appealing, and probably something dire happens to them anyway. Because it is a series of vignettes, it comes across as being quite choppy, with little in the way of continuity possible. The writing is so powerful that it goes too far and overdoes it, and if you're reading for pleasure (as I was)you may find it a heavy slog.
One of the other reviewers here mentioned "The Monk" and actually I found that a much better balance of dark and lighter writing. This is important as in my opinion, without the lighter bits, the horror loses definition and just becomes a bit...well...overdone.
My view is that if you're dithering between the two, go for the "The Monk". (Feel free to call me a Philistine though!)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Delighted. Lovely to have this again. An important Gothic tale that really brings psychological horror to the forePublished 4 months ago by S. Murray
OK and well written but long winded. I did learn to skip read the more verbose bits. Good underlying yarn though.Published on 16 Jan. 2015 by Bossingtonian
A very strange, fascinating book. It may not be for everybody, but I personally found it "difficult to put down". Read morePublished on 19 Dec. 2014 by J. W. F. Edwardson
I've been a Kindle owner for six months now and absolutely love the device. However what I don't love is lazy e-publishers who charge you money for texts that haven't been proofed... Read morePublished on 25 Dec. 2013 by ComicsFangirl
Maturin takes us on an epic journey through time as different characters from different ages collide through their common tormentor - melmoth. Read morePublished on 15 Jun. 2013 by MCPete
I bought this Melmoth the Wanderer secondhand. I received it quickly after I purchased it, but what surprised me the most, is that the book was in a really good state and it wasn't... Read morePublished on 8 Oct. 2012 by Kristine