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Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock
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Nightmare Abbey (1818)

by Thomas Love Peacock

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English (7)  Dutch (1)  All languages (8)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I'm reviewing this four years to the day that I finished reading it.

Lasting impressions? I can barely remember it, though words like "boredom" and "dull" come to mind. I know the story didn't come close to the promising title.

It would doubtless be a nightmare to read it twice. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Jun 8, 2017 |
Young Scythrop Glowry lives with his father in a desolate castle, his bitter mother having died suddenly, to his father's joy. Scythrop recently graduated from a university, where his head was filled with nothing but he picked up the habit of drinking too much. Both Scythrop and his father enjoy the miserable things in life, but Scythrop is young and quickly falls in love with Emily, who quickly marries another, leaving Scythorpe in a romantic depression. When his father's many miserable friends come to visit, there also arrives beautiful and cruel Marionetta, and The Honourable Mr. Listless, who lies on the sofa reading, as doing any more is too taxing.

Published in 1818, this is a satire of the Gothic romance novels that were popular at the time. The characters are thinly veiled caricatures of Lord Byron, Shelley and Wordsworth. ( )
  mstrust | Mar 22, 2017 |
I read Nightmare Abbey because it came up as a recommendation for people who liked Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, a novel I read and loved earlier this year. While the two novels do have similarities, I found Nightmare Abbey to be much more like Candide in its skewering of the Romantic movement.

This one will probably be best appreciated by people who are pretty familiar with the Romantics, as Peacock makes many references to a number of Romantic works and based most of his characters on some of the leading names of the movement, including Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Lord Byron. Although knowing all of the allusions aren't necessary for enjoying the book, which has some great passages, the Wikipedia page can help with some of the more esoteric passages.

While Nightmare Abbey wasn't the book I was expecting it to be, I did enjoy the book that it is. It will never be one of my all-time favorites, but its wit, and short length, will probably have me rereading it in the future. ( )
  amanda4242 | Oct 13, 2015 |
Very funny if somewhat outdated. To be read as a spoof of romantic writing and, perhaps, philosophical debates but - as much satire - wanting on character, plot development. ( )
  jacoombs | Mar 25, 2014 |
Really enjoyed this spoof on the Kantian/Transcendentalist books of the late 1700s & early 1800s. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jan 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Love Peacockprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barbolini RobertoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barbolini RobertoPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bertolucci, AttilioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Forster, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, EdmundForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
There's a dark lantern of the spirit,
Which none see by but those who bear it,
That makes them in the dark see visions
And hag themselves with apparitions,
Find racks for their own minds, and vaunt
Of their own misery and want.

BUTLER
MATTHEW. Oh! it's your only fine humour, sir. Your true melancholy breeds your perfect fine wit, sir. I am melancholy myself, divers times, sir: and and then I do no more but take pen and paper presently, and overflow you half a score or a dozen of sonnets at a sitting.

STEPHEN. Truly,sir, and I love such things out of measure.

MATTHEW. Why, I pray you, sir, make use of my study: it's at your service.

STEPHEN. I thank you, sir, I shall be bold, I warrant you. Have you a stool there, to be melancholy upon!

BEN JONSON, Every Man in his Humour, Act 3, Sc 1
Dedication
First words
Nightmare Abbey, a venerable family-mansion, in a highly picturesque state of semi-dilapidation, pleasantly situated on a strip of dry land between the sea and the fens, at the verge of the county of Lincoln, had the honour to be the seat of Christopher Glowry, Esquire.
Quotations
When Scythrop grew up, he was sent, as usual, to a public school, where a little learning was painfully beaten into him, and from thence to the university, where it was carefully taken out of him; and he was sent home like a well-threshed ear of corn, with nothing in his head: having finished his education to the high satisfaction of the master and fellows of his college,...
He had some taste for romance reading before he went to the university, where, we must confess, in justice to his college, he was cured of the love of reading in all its shapes; and the cure would have been radical, if disappointment in love, and total solitude, had not conspired to bring on a relapse.
The tower which Scythrop inhabited stood at the south-eastern angle of the Abbey; and, on the southern side, the foot of the tower opened on a terrace, which was called the garden, though nothing grew on it but ivy, and a few amphibious weeds. The south-western tower, which was ruinous and full of owls, might, with equal propriety, have been called the aviary.
MR FLOSKY: Very true, sir. Modern literature is a north-east wind--a blight of the human soul. I take credit to myself for having helped to make it so. The way to produce fine fruit is to blight the flower. You call this a paradox. Marry, so be it. Ponder thereon.
Raven: The Honourable Mr Listless is gone. He declared that, what with family quarrels in the morning, and ghosts at night, he could get neither sleep nor peace; and that the agitation was too much for his nerves: though Mr Glowry assured him that the ghost was only poor Crow walking in his sleep, and that the shroud and bloody turban were a sheet and a red nightcap.
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Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine single editions of Nightmare Abbey with the book called Nightmare Abbey and Crotchet Castle
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Published in 1818 when the Gothic genre was much in vogue, Nightmare Abbey is a novel by Thomas Love Peacock that displays many of its conventions. The plot follows Christopher Glowry and his son Scythrop who live in a family estate named Nightmare Abbey.… (more)

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