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<I>Nightmare Abbey</I>
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Book description

Thomas Love Peacock (1785–1866) is one of the most distinctive prose satirists of the Romantic period. The Cambridge Edition of the Novels of Thomas Love Peacock offers the first complete text of his novels to appear for more than half a century. Nightmare Abbey (1818), Peacock's third novel, is a spirited satire that shows Peacock to be a perceptive observer and engaged critic of the literary and political preoccupations of his time. While the novel has often been characterized in popular culture either as a burlesque of the Gothic novel or a mere spoof of Romantic gloom and doom, this edition recognizes it as a purposeful critique of Romanticism. Explanatory notes illustrate the ways in which several characters are caricatures of prominent Romantic writers, including Peacock's close friend Shelley as well as Coleridge and Byron, and also identify the various sources, some previously unsuspected, from which Peacock created their dialogue.


'The idiosyncratic joy of Thomas Love Peacock’s works is highlighted within wonderfully readable scholarly introductions from Nicholas A. Joukovsky who edits Nightmare Abbey, and Freya Johnston and Matthew Bevis in their edition of Crotchet Castle. … the first thoroughly edited and annotated imprints of Peacock since the Halliford Edition of the Works, edited between 1924 and 1934 …'

John Gardner Source: Notes and Queries

‘Readers are provided with all the information they need to understand and evaluate both the texts and the purposes underlying them … the editors have interpreted their brief generously. They have done an excellent job in identifying many 'out-of-the-way sources and analogues', as well as in positioning the texts accurately at a particular nineteenth-century cultural moment … this is likely to become the edition of choice for scholars and enthusiasts of Peacock’s novels, and for economists, historians, philosophers and other students of the changing currents of nineteenth-century intellectual culture. The volumes are beautifully produced.’

Pamela Clemit Source: Times Literary Supplement

‘… the first two volumes of the Cambridge Edition should become the new standard for editors of the Romantic novel. They not only perform the scholarly work of informing the reader of dates, circumstances, and variants, but they do what the best textual editing can: hugely enrich the experience of reading Nightmare Abbey and Crotchet Castle, and consequently enhance our sense of Peacock’s vigour, complexity, and wit.’

William Bowers Source: Keats-Shelley Journal

‘… [a] meticulous edition …’

Thomas Keymer Source: London Review of Books

‘Nightmare Abbey excels in tracking the composition through Spring 1818 … A variety of sources, including anecdotal evidence, are similarly used to recreate the immediate critical response … offering valuable commentary on prototypes of the novel’s satiric figures, generic and personal … In a final section on ‘Afterlife’, the editor convincingly attributes a shift in fortunes in the popularity of this title to the growth of English literature as an academic subject … a remarkable achievement in elucidating Peacock’s ‘fine wit’ for present and future readers.’

Peter Garside Source: Peacock edition

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