Nightmare Abbey

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A satire by Peacock, published 1818.

The most literary of Peacock's satires, it mocks the modish gloom infecting contemporary literature: Coleridge's German transcendentalism is the prime example, but Byron's self‐dramatizing and Shelley's esotericism are also ridiculed. In imitation of the opening of Godwin's novel Mandeville (1817), Mr Glowry's isolated house is staffed by servants with long faces and names like Diggory Deathshead. He gives a house party attended by Mr Toobad, the millenarian pessimist, Mr Flosky (Coleridge), Mr Cypress (Byron), and Mr Listless, the common reader, who is currently immersed in the blue devils. Two guests remain unfashionably cheerful, Mr Asterias the scientist and Mr Hilary, whose literary tastes come from the Greeks. Scythrop Glowry, the son of the house, a young writer who resembles Shelley, cannot decide between his frivolous cousin Marionetta and Mr Toobad's sibylline daughter Stella. In a classic comic denouement, in which the ladies are discovered to one another, Scythrop loses both.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Thomas Love Peacock (1785—1866) satirical novelist and poet

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