Plot summary[ edit ] Nightmare Abbey is a Gothic topical satire in which the author pokes light-hearted fun at the romantic movement in contemporary English literature, in particular its obsession with morbid subjects, misanthropy and transcendental philosophical systems. Most of the characters in the novella are based on historical figures whom Peacock wishes to pillory.
Plot summary[ edit ] Nightmare Abbey is a Gothic topical satire in which the author pokes light-hearted fun at the romantic movement in contemporary English literature, in particular its obsession with morbid subjects, misanthropy and transcendental philosophical systems.
Most of the characters in the novella are based on historical figures whom Peacock wishes to pillory. Insofar as Nightmare Abbey may be said to have a plot, it follows the fortunes of Christopher Glowry, Esquire, a morose widower who lives with his only son Scythrop in his semi-dilapidated family mansion Nightmare Abbey, which is situated on a strip of dry land between the sea and the fens in Lincolnshire.
Mr Glowry is a melancholy gentleman who likes to surround himself with servants with long faces or dismal names such as Raven, Graves or Deathshead.
The few visitors he welcomes to his home are mostly of a similar cast of mind: The only exception is the sanguine Mr Hilary, who, as Mr Glowry's brother-in-law, is obliged to visit the abbey from family interests.
The Reverend Mr Larynx, the vicar of nearby Claydyke, readily adapts himself to whatever company he is in. Scythrop is recovering from a love affair which ended badly when Mr Glowry and the young woman's father quarrelled over terms and broke off the proposed match.
To distract himself Scythrop takes up the study of German romantic literature and transcendental metaphysics. With a penchant for melancholy, gothic mystery and abstruse Kantian metaphysics, Scythrop throws himself into a quixotic mission of reforming the world and regenerating the human species, and dreams up various schemes to achieve these ends.
Most of these involve secret societies of Illuminati. He writes a suitably impenetrable treatise on the subject, which only sells seven copies. But Scythrop is not despondent. Seven is a mystical number and he determines to seek out his readers and make of them seven golden candlesticks with which to illuminate the world.
He has a hidden chamber constructed in his gloomy tower as a secret retreat from the enemies of mankind, who will no doubt seek to thwart his attempts at social regeneration. Meanwhile, however, he is constantly distracted from these projects by his dalliance with two women — the worldly and flirtatious Marionetta and the mysterious and intellectual Stella — and by the constant stream of visitors to the abbey.
She flirts with Scythrop, who quickly falls in love; but when she plays hard to get, he retreats to his tower to nurse his wounded heart.
Mr Glowry tries to dissuade Scythrop from setting his mind on a woman who not only has no fortune but is insufferably merry-hearted into the bargain. When this fails he turns to Mrs Hilary, who decides in the interests of propriety to take Marionetta away.
But Scythrop threatens to drink poison unless his father drops the matter and allows the young woman to stay. Unknown to Scythrop, Mr Glowry and Mr Toobad have already come to a secret arrangement to marry Scythrop to Mr Toobad's daughter Celinda; but when Mr Toobad breaks the news to his daughter in London, she goes into hiding.
Back at Nightmare Abbey Marionetta, now sure of Scythrop's heart, torments him for her own pleasure. The other guests pass the time dining, playing billiards and discussing contemporary literature and philosophy, in which discussions Mr Flosky usually takes the lead.
A new visitor arrives at the Abbey, Mr Asterias the ichthyologistwho is accompanied by his son Aquarius. The guests discuss Mr Asterias's theory on the existence of mermaids and tritons. It transpires that a report of a mermaid on the sea-coast of Lincolnshire is the immediate reason for Mr Asterias's visit.
A few nights later he glimpses a mysterious figure on the shore near the Abbey and is convinced that it is his mermaid, but a subsequent search fails to discover anything of note.
Over the next few days Marionetta notices a remarkable change in Scythrop's deportment, for which she cannot account.
Failing to draw the secret out of him, she turns to Mr Flosky for advice, but finds his comments incomprehensible. Scythrop grows every day more distrait, and Marionetta fears that he no longer loves her. She confronts him and threatens to leave him forever.
He renews his undying love for her and assures her that his mysterious reserve was merely the result of his profound meditation on a scheme for the regeneration of society. A complete reconciliation is accomplished; even Mr Glowry agrees to the match, as there is still no news of Miss Toobad.
It is only now that we learn the reason for the change in Scythrop's manner. The night on which Mr Asterias spots his mermaid, Scythrop returns to his tower only to find a mysterious young woman there. She calls herself Stella and explains how she is one of the seven people who read his treatise.
Fleeing from some "atrocious persecution", she had no friend to turn to until she read Scythrop's treatise and realised that here was a kindred mind who would surely not fail to assist her in her time of need.
Scythrop secretes her in his hidden chamber.
After several days he finds that his heart is torn between the flirtatious Marionetta and the intellectual Stella, the one worldly and sparkling, the other spiritual and mysterious. Unable to choose between them, Scythrop decides to enjoy both, but is terrified of what might happen should either of his loves learn of the other's existence.
There is a brief and rather inconsequential interruption to the proceedings when Mr Cypress, a misanthropic poet, pays a visit to the Abbey before going into exile.is and in to a was not you i of it the be he his but for are this that by on at they with which she or from had we will have an what been one if would who has her.
Literary authors, collections of writings, literary criticism, and other related information can be found in both our circulating and reference collections at Middetown Thrall Library.
OUTLINE. 1. INTRODUCTION. Aims of the unit. Notes on bibliography. 2.
|YE tradefull Merchants that with weary toil, do seek most precious things to make your gain:|
A HISTORICAL BACKGROUND FOR THE ROMANTIC PERIOD: THE PRE-ROMANTIC PERIOD (BEFORE ). Literary authors, collections of writings, literary criticism, and other related information can be found in both our circulating and reference collections at Middetown Thrall Library.
21 October is the anniversary of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s birth in Born in Devon, he spent much of his life in the West Country including the little village of Nether Stowey where the cottage he lived in can still be visited.
While living there, he wrote some of his best-known poetry, including The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan. "Kubla Khan; or, A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment" / ˌ k ʊ b l ə ˈ k ɑː n / is a poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, completed in and published in