Charles Maturin
2015 |

An 1820 Gothic Novel Melmoth the Wanderer Abridged Charles Maturin Melmoth the Wanderer is an 1820 Gothic novel by Irish playwright, novelist and clergyman Charles Maturin. The novel's titular character is a scholar who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for 150 extra years of life, and searches the world for someone who will take over the pact for him, in a manner reminiscent of the Wandering Jew. The novel is composed of a series of nested stories-within-stories, gradually revealing the story of Melmoth's life. The novel offers social commentary on early-19th-century England, and denounces Roman Catholicism in favour of the virtues of Protestantism. John Melmoth, a student in Dublin, visits his dying uncle. He finds a portrait of a mysterious ancestor called "Melmoth"; the portrait is dated 1646. At his uncle's funeral, John is told an old family story about a stranger called Stanton who arrived looking for 'Melmoth the Traveller' decades earlier. A manuscript left by Stanton describes his first finding Melmoth laughing at the sight of two lovers who have been struck by lightning, and hearing of a wedding at which Melmoth was an uninvited guest: the bride died and the bridegroom went mad. Stanton's search for Melmoth is deemed to be madness and he is sent to a madhouse. Melmoth visits him there, and offers to free him, but Stanton refuses and escapes. Following his uncle's wish, John burns the Melmoth portrait. He is visited by Melmoth in a dream, and later sees Melmoth laughing at a shipwreck. John tries to approach him, but slips and falls into the sea. He is saved from drowning by the sole survivor of the wreck, a Spaniard Alonzo Monçada. Alonzo Monçada tells his story, in which his family confines him to a monastery. He is mistreated by the monks, and his brother Juan arranges for him to escape with the help of a fellow monk, a parricide. The escape plan is a trap and Juan is killed. Monçada is taken to the prison of the Inquisition. There he is visited in his cell by Melmoth, who says he will help him escape. A fire breaks out, and in the confusion Monçada escapes. He meets a venerable Jewish scholar, Adonijah, who lives in a secret chamber decorated with the skeletons of his own family. In exchange for food and shelter, Adonijah compels Monçada to transcribe a manuscript for him: 'the Tale of the Indians'.

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Melmoth the Wanderer

An 1820 Gothic Novel - Abridged