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The Novels of Thomas Love Peacock by Thomas…
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The Novels of Thomas Love Peacock

by Thomas Love Peacock

Other authors: Bryan Burns (Editor)

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Nightmare Abbey
I remember how much I enjoyed this novel when I first read it after reading quite a number of gothic novels. Scythrop has stayed in my mind since then, his mood swings being both amusing and convincing – even if otherwise the novel is more a playing with ideas than anything else.

In fact, if taken seriously, it would seem that Peacock allows the reader, thematically, a choice of only two things – to condemn all those people who see just negativity in life – the readers of sentimental, gothic novels or to embrace the sort of philosophy Flosky has where everything is rendered just about incomprehensible such as when he tells Marionetta ‘I am sorry to find you participating in the vulgar error of the reading public, to whom an unusual collocation of words, involving a juxtaposition of antiperistatical ideas, immediately suggests the notion of hyperoxysophistical paradoxology’.

Or we can turn to Mr Asterias, the ‘scientist’ looking for mermaids and tritons, who rightly rejects ‘the inexhaustible varieties of ennui; spleen, chagrin, vapours, blue devils, time-killing, discontent, misanthropy . . .’ but convinces himself illogically of the existence of mermaids when he sees a figure by the sea from Nightmare Abbey – ‘Might it not be a mermaid? It was possibly a mermaid. It was probably a mermaid. It was very probably a mermaid. Nay, what else could it be but a mermaid? It certainly was a mermaid’.

I think this novel was published around the time Austin’s ‘Northanger Abbey’ finally saw the light of day although hers was written some fifteen years earlier. Both are effective in satirising the way, apparently, readers of the day tended to take these stories seriously. ‘Nightmare Abbey’, though, has lost a lot through all the topical references being lost. My annotated version only told me on whom most of the characters were based, but the majority of the many references Peacock offers were lost on me. I wonder f there is any edition which has full footnotes. If so, I wouldn’t mind reading it although I suspect the footnotes would take much longer to read than the book. ( )
  evening | Oct 6, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Love Peacockprimary authorall editionscalculated
Burns, BryanEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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There are at least two different collections titled The Novels of Thomas Love Peacock. The one edited by David Garnett is in two volumes with a total of over 900 pages. The one edited by Bryan Burns is 250 pages. Please do not combine unless you are sure which volume is which.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038920532X, Hardcover)

This is the first book to offer a literary analysis of Peacock's novels, including the two ironic medieval romances Maid Marian and The Misfortunes of Elphin. Other works included are Headlong Hall, Melincourt, Nightmare Abbey, Crotchet Castle, The Romances and Gryll Grange.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:18 -0400)

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