Melmoth the Wanderer

Charles Robert Maturin - Author

Victor Sage - Editor

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ISBN 9780140447613 | 704 pages | 01 Feb 2001 | Penguin Classics | 5.07 x 7.79in | 18 - AND UP
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‘My hour is come … the clock of eternity is about to strike, but its knell must be unheard by mortal ears!’

In a satanic bargain, Melmoth has sold his soul in exchange for immortality 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 tortured wanderings. His story is pieced together by those who have glimpsed his eerie existence over the centuries – from a prisoner in the clutches of the Spanish Inquisition to a man incarcerated in a London lunatic asylum. Violent, allusive, profound and blackly humorous, Melmoth the Wanderer was greatly admired by writers such as Balzac, Poe, Dostoyevsky and Oscar Wilde for its baroque imagery and hallucinatory power.

In his introduction, Victor Sage discusses the novel as one of the last examples of the Gothic genre, its narrative methods and Maturin’s religious background. This edition also includes suggestions for further reading and notes.

‘A labyrinthine form without a centre … the Gothic romance to end all Gothic romances’Victor Sage

‘Maturin in the novel, Byron in poetry … have projected splendid and shimmering beams on to that latent Lucifer who is installed in every human heart’ Baudelaire