Charles Robert Maturin

1782-1824 [commonly given as 1820-24; early pseud. “Dennis Jasper Murphy”]; b. 25 Sept. in Dublin, of Huguenot stock, to Huguenot family; only surviving child of William Maturin and Fidelia [née] Watson; his pat. gf. Gabriel Jasper Maturin had been Swift’s successor in the deanery of St Patrick; his f. worked in Post Office; ed. TCD, 1795, BA 1800; ord. 1803, and appt. curate at Loughrea, Co. Galway, being influenced by the scenery; m. Henrietta Kingsbury, 1804; curate of St. Peter’s Parish, Aungier St., Dublin, 1805 until his death; on his father’s business failing, he established a tutoring college in Dublin and from it derived an income of 500-1,000, but was compelled to give it up in 1807; financed publication of The Fatal Revenge, or the Family of Montorio (1807), reviewed by Walter Walter Scott in Quarterly Review (‘at some future time [the author will] astonish the public’); Maturin’s response began a correspondence that continued during his lifetime; issued The Wild Irish Boy (1808), a novel in the manner of Lady Morgan - with an epigraph from Spenser’s Present View of Ireland [‘commodious’, &c.]; issued The Milesian Chief (1812), supposedly imitated by Scott in The Bride of Lammermoor; issued The Fatal Revenge Women, or Pour et Contre (1818), a romantic story of a young man who chooses between a daughter and her mother, reviewed by Scott in the Edinburgh Review (‘has used the scalpel […] with professional rigour and dexterity’);
Bertram, a five-act tragedy, recommended by Scott to Kemble, who declined it; produced by Edmund Kean on the advice of Byron, with Kean in the title role (though with the part of the Dark Knight of the Forest removed as being too evil for the stage); became season’s success at Drury Lane on withdrawal of King Lear due to George III’s madness, 1816; a devastating attack on Maturin by Coleridge appeared in The Courier [rep. in Appendix to Biographia Literaria, 1817], his own Zapolya having been rejected; his later plays Manuel (1817), Fredolfo, and Osmyn the Renegade (1819), all unsuccessful; issued Melmoth the Wanderer (1820), ded. to the Marchioness of Abercorn and published in Edinburgh by Constable; said to have been written by candlelight in Marsh’s library and set in Melmoth Lodge and Devil’s Glen, Co. Wicklow, concerning the Faustian pact of John Melmoth; prob. inspired Balzac’s Melmoth réconcilié (1836) - which in turn influence Sheridan Le Fanu’s Irish Gothic fiction; issued The Albigenses (1824), planned as the first of a trilogy of historical romances; his books rapidly fell into such disregard that the Irish Quarterly Review could write of him in 1852 that ‘there is not one whose memory is so much neglected or whose works are so much forgotten’; in the same decade Thackeray consigned him to the past; James Clarence Mangan wrote that he had ‘understood many people [though] no one understood him in any way’ (sketch for The Irishman, 1849);
Baudelaire and Hugo declaring their admiration for his work; all his novels translated into French by 1825; Balzac produced a sequel, Melmoth Réconcilié (1835); Goethe also attempted a translation; d. 30 Oct. 1824, after accidental poisoning, York St., Dublin; acc. William Carleton, Maturin wrote ‘the greater portion of several of his novels at a small plain deal desk’ in Marsh’s Library; Oscar Wilde took Sebastian Melmoth as pen-name after his downfall; his works were translated into French c.1820, and Melmoth was continued in a sequel by Balzac as Melmoth Réconcilié (1835) - remarking that if Melmoth had only looked to Paris, he would have been overwhelmed with takers for his devil’s bargain; and obituary notices appeared in The Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Quarterly (Dec. 1824), and the Gentleman’s Magazine, Vol. 95 (April 1825), pp.84-85; Mangan wrote a piece on Maturin as the first [No. 1] in his ‘Sketches and Reminiscences of Irish Writers’ (The Irishman, 24 March 1849, p.187); in 1873, TCD Library held only one title by him in a late edition. CAB ODNB IF DIW DIB DIH DIL/2 OCEL MKA RAF FDA OCIL

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Charles Maturin
Charles Maturin
Charles Maturin

Maturin - Young and Old

Eugene Delacroix

“Alonzo Monçada’s story from the Melmoth” by Eugène Delacroix (oil on canvas, 1831).


  • Bertram; or, The Castle of St. Aldobrand (London: John Murray 1816), 1+94pp. [2 edns.; ded. to Walter Scott, The Scotsman, the only Friend of the Irish Author’];
  • Manuel, A Tragedy in Five Acts, as performed at The Theatre Royal, Drury-Lane by the author of Bertram (London: John Murray 1817) [second edition];
  • Fredolfo, A Tragedy, in five acts by the Rev. C. R. Maturin, author of Bertram, &c. (Edinburgh: Archibald Constable & Co.; London: Longman Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown [Paternoster-Row]; Hurst Robinson & Co. [Cheapside] 1819);
  • The Sybil’s Prophecy, dramatic fragment in The Literary Souvenir, or Cabinet of Poetry and Romance (1926), Vol. 2, pp.128-36;
  • Osmyn the Renegade, or The Seige of Salerno [unpublished, MS lost; extracts in Irish Quarterly Review, II, March 1852, pp.166-69].
  • The Fatal Revenge, or The Family of Montorio, A Romance by Dennis Jasper Murphy, 3 vols. (London: Longmans, Hurst, Rees & Orme 1807), rep. with foreword by Henry D. Hicks, intro. M. Levy, 3 vols. (NY: Arno Press 1974);
  • The Wild Irish Boy, by the Author of Montorio, 3 vols. (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1808), and Do. [facs. rep.] (NY: Garland Publishing Inc. 1979);
  • The Milesian Chief, 4 vols. (London: Henry Colburn 1812); Do. [facs. rep.] (NY: Garland Publishing 1979); another edn. [and Leixlip Castle] (Ryan Layne Whitney 2014), 495pp. hb.]
  • Women, or Pour et Contre, Women; or, Pour et Contre, A Tale, by the author of Bertram, &c., 3 vols. (Edinburgh: Archibald Constable; London: Hurst, Rees, Orme, & Brown 1818), and Do. [facs. rep.] (NY: Garland Publishing 1979);
  • Melmoth the Wanderer: A Tale [by the author of … &c.], 4 vols. (Edinburgh: Archibald Constable; London: Hurst, Robinson & Co. 1820) [printer John Pillans, Edinburgh; Vol. 1, xii, 341pp.; Vol. 2, 321p p; Vol. 3, 368pp., Vol. 4, 453pp.], and Do. [2nd edn.] (Edinburgh: Constable; London: Hurst, Robinson 1821), [20cm.; copy in V&A Libraries]; Do., 3 vols. (London: Bentley & Son 1892) [‘with a memoir and bibliography of Maturin’s works’]; Do., intro. by W. F. Axton (Nebraska UP 1961); and Do., ed. & intro. by Douglas Grant (OUP 1968); Do. [Oxford Paperbacks] (Oxford Univ. Press 1998); Do. [Penguin Classics] (Penguin 2000); Do. (Kessinger Publ. 2010); Do. (CreateSpace Indep. Platform 2010); Do. (Benediction Classics 2011).
  • The Albigenses, A Romance, 4 vols. (Edinburgh: Archibald Constable; London: Hurst, Robinson & Co, 1824 [FDA]), rep. with foreword by J. Gray and intro. by Dale Kramer, 4 vols. (NY: Arno Press 1974);
  • ‘Leixlip Castle: An Irish Family Legend’, in The Literary Souvenir; or, Cabinet of Poetry and Romance (London: Hurst & Robinson 1825), rep., in The Grimoire and Other Supernatural Stories, collected by Montague Summers (Fortune Press 1936), pp.23-27 [text].
  • Lines on the Battle of Waterloo, by John Shee, Esq [pseud.], Undergrad. TCD (Dublin: R Milliken, Grafton St.), poem, 56pp.;
  • ‘Oh How Sweet the Feeling’, ‘Stranger to the Tree’, ‘Stranger to the Stream’, poems, in A Select Collection of Melodies, ed., Alexander Campbell (Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd 1816), Vol. 2;
  • Sermons (Edinburgh: Archibald Constable, London: Hurst & Robinson 1819 [2nd edn. 1821; 1824]), xx+475pp.;
  • Five Sermons On The Errors Of The Roman Catholic Church, preached at St. Peter’s Church (Dublin [Grafton Street]: Richard Milliken 1824), 163pp. [var. Dublin: W. Fold & Son 1824], 2nd. edn. (1826);
New editions
  • W. F. Axton, intro., Melmoth the Wanderer (Nebraska UP 1961); Do., intro. by Devendra P. Varma (London: Folio Soc. 1993), xvii, 505pp. ill. [by Felix Zakar]; Do., ed. Douglas Grant (OUP 1968), and Do. [new edn.], with new introduction & bibliography by Chris Baldick (OUP 1989), xxiv, 560pp.; Do., ed. & intro. by Victor Sage (London: Penguin Books 2000 ), xxxi, 659pp.
  • E. F. Bleider, intro., The Wild Irish Boy, 3 vols. (NY: Arno Press 1977), and Robert Lee Wolff, ed., Do. [facs. rep.] (NY: Garland Publ. 1979);
  • Robert Lee Wolff, ed., The Milesian Chief (NY: Garland Publ. 1979);
  • Douglas Grant, ed., Melmoth the Wanderer, with new introduction by Chris Baldick (Oxford & London: OUP 1989).
Translations (sel.)
  • Melmoth: l’homme errant, récit de Ch. Robert Maturin; première traduction francçaise integrale par Jacqueline Marc-Chadourne; préface d’André Breton ([Paris:] J.-J. Pauvert [1965]), xxxi, 659pp.[29cm.], and Do. [another edn.] ([Paris:] Phébus [1996]), 614pp.
  • [...]
  • B[enjamin] West, Melmoth, the Wanderer; a melo-dramatic romance, in three acts, (founded on the popular novel of that name,) performed, for the first time, at the Royal Coburg Theatre, on Monday, the 14th of July, 1823 ([London]: Printed for John Lowndes [1823])
  • Fannie E[lizabeth] Ratchford & William H[enry], eds., The Correspondence of Sir Walter Scott and Charles Robert Maturin, with a Few Other Allied Letters (Austin: Texas UP 1937), x, 128pp. [var.1939].

Works on Internet [sel.]

The Wild Irish Boy (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1808) - available at Google Books -

The Wild Irish Boy [1808] facs. edn. (Arno Press 1977), 406pp. - available at Google Books -

The Milesian Chief (1812 Edn.)is available as PDF in 4 sep. volumes [with sep. sections] at Google Books - - online.

Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) is available in text format only at Gutenberg Australia - [A PDF copy derived from the is located at]

Melmoth the Wanderer [another edn.] (Edinburgh: Constable; (London: Hurst, Robinson & Co. 1820), available at Internet Archive -

Melmoth the Wanderer [1820] - available at [Word as pdf; 19pp only.]

See the RICORSO EDITION of Melmoth the Wanderer (1820)
- as below or as attached

Melmoth the Wanderer: A Tale (1820)

Chap 1
Chap 2
Chap 3
Chap 4
Chap 5
Chap 6
Chap 7
Chap 8
Chap 9
Chap 10
Chap 11
Chap 12
Chap 13
Chap 14
Chap 15
Chap 16
Chap 17
Chap 18
Chap 19
Chap 20
Chap 21
Chap 22
Chap 23
Chap 24
Chap 25
Chap 26
Chap 27
Chap 28
Chap 29
Chap 30
Chap 31
Chap 32
Chap 33
Chap 34
Chap 35
Chap 36
Chap 37
Chap 38
Chap 39
[For plot-summary, see under CreateSpace Publ. - infra.]

Wild Irish Boy
Melmoth the Wanderer
The Wild Irish Boy by the Author of Montorio
[Dennis Jasper Murphy, aka C. R. Maturin] (1808)
Melmoth the Wanderer: A Tale
(Edinburgh: Constanble 1820)
Google Books - online; accessed 13.12.2018
Internet Archive - online; accessed 13.12.2018

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Early accounts
  • [Obit. notice], The Dublin and London Magazine Vol. l (April 1826), p.96;
  • Obituary of Rev. C. R. Maturin, The Gentleman’s Magazine, Vol. 95 (1825), pp.8685[?];
  • ‘Conversations of Maturin’, The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal, Vol. XIX, No. l (1827), pp.401-11.
  • ‘Conversations of Maturin’, in Do., Vol. XIX, No. 2 (1827), pp.570-77;
  • Recollections of Maturin’, Vol. XX, No. 3 ([1828]) pp.146-152;
  • Recollections of Maturin’, in Do., Vol. XX, No. 4 ([1828]), pp.370-76;
  • Memoranda of Maturin’ in Douglas Jerrold’s Shilling Magazine, Vol.3 (1846), pp.125-34;
  • ‘Extract from the portfolio of a man of the world’, in The Gentleman’s Magazine, [n.s.]. Vol. XXV (1846), p.468;
  • J. C. Mangan, ‘C. R. Maturin’ in ‘Sketches and Reminiscences of Irish Writers’, No. 1, in The Irishman, (24 March, 1849), p.187;
  • [q. title,] The Irish Quarterly Review, Vol. 2 (March 1821), pp.141-70;
  • ‘Death of C. R. Maturin’ in The Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany, Vol. 9 (December 1824), p.768.

Bibl. note: for above listing, see Grainne McElroy, PhD. Thesis (University of Ulster at Coleraine, 1997).

Modern studies
  • Niilo Idman, Charles Robert Maturin, His Life and Works (London: Constable 1923), 326pp.;
  • Willem Scholten, Charles Robert Maturin: The Terror-Novelist (Amsterdam: H. J. Paris 1933; NY: Garland Publ. 1981);
  • Niilo Idman, Charles Robert Maturin: His Life and Works [Helsingfors] (London: Constable 1923);
  • Robert Kiely, The Romantic Novel in England (Cambridge: Harvard UP 1972), pp.189-207;
  • Judson Monroe, Tragedy in the Novels of the Reverend Charles Robert Maturin (NY: Arno 1972);
  • H. W. Piper & A. N. Jeffares, ‘Maturin the Innovator,’ in Huntingdon Lib. Quarterly, 156 (NY: Twayne 1973);
  • Shirley Scott, Myths and Consciousness in the Novels of Charles Maturin (NY: Arno 1973); Dale Kramer, Charles Robert Maturin (NY: Twayne 1973);
  • Claude Fiérobe, Charles Robert Maturin (1780-1824) L’homme et l’oeuvre (Paris: Editions Universitaires 1974);
  • Robert E. Lougy, Charles Robert Maturin (Lewisburg: Bucknell UP 1975);
  • Charles B. Harris, Charles Robert Maturin: The Forgotten Imitator (NY: Arno 1980);
  • Peter Mills Henderson, A Nut Between Two Blades: The Novels of Charles Robert Maturin (NY: Arno 1980);
  • Henry William Hinck, Three Studies on Charles Robert Maturin (NY: Arno 1980);
  • David Punter, The Literature of Terror (London 1980), pp.141-49;
  • Patricia Coughlan, ‘The Recycling of Melmoth: “A Very German Story”’, in Wolfgang Zach and Heinz Kosok eds., Literary Interrelations: Ireland, England and the World, Vol. II: Comparison and Impact (Tübingen: Guntar Narr Verlag, 1987), pp. 181-92;
  • André Breton, ‘Zur Stellung von Melmoth’, foreword to German edn. of Melmoth the Wanderer; rep. in Schneider, Jürgen, and Ralf Sotscheck, Ireland: Eine Bibliographie selbständiger deutschsprachiger. [Publikationen 16; Jahrhundret bis 1989 (Verlag de Georg Büchner Buchhandlung 1989), pp.99-105;
  • Claude Fiérobe, ‘Irish Homes in the Works of C. R. Maturin’, in The Big House in Ireland, ed. Jacqueline Genet (Dingle: Brandon; NY: Barnes & Noble 1991), pp.71-84;
  • Fierobe Claude, ‘A Gothic-Historical Sermon: Maturin’s Last Novel: The Albigenses’, in Barbara Hayley & Christopher Murray, eds., Ireland and France - A Bountiful Friendship: Essays in Honour of Patrick Rafroidi (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1992), [q.pp.];
  • Julian Moynihan, ‘The Politics of Anglo-Irish Gothic: Charles Robert Maturin, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, and the Return of the Repressed’, in Anglo-Irish: The Literary Imagination in a Hyphenated Culture (Princeton UP 1995) [Chap. VI], pp.109-35, espec. pp.111-27;
  • Joseph Spence, ‘“The Great Angelic Sin”: The Faust Legend in Irish Literature, 1820-1900’, in Bullán: An Irish Studies Journal, 1, 2 (Autumn 1994), pp.47-58, espec. 47-51;
  • Claude Fiérobe, ‘The Big House and the Fantastic: From Architecture to Literature’’, in Bruce Stewart ed., That Other World: The Supernatural and Fantastic in Irish Literature and its Contexts [Princess Grace Irish Library Series No. 12] 2 vols. (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1998, Vol. 1, p.256-65, esp. 258ff.
  • Margot Gayle Backus, The Gothic Family Romance: Heterosexuality, Child Sacrifice and the Anglo-Irish Colonial Order (London: Duke UP 1999), Chap. 4: ‘“A Very Strange Agony”: Parables of Sexual Subject Formation in Melmoth the Wanderer, Carmilla, and Dracula’ [q.pp.].
  • Claire Connolly, ‘Theatre and Nation in Irish Romanticism: the tragic dramas of Charles Robert Maturin and Richard Lalor Sheil’, in Éire-Ireland: A Journal of Irish Studies, 41, 3 (Fall/Winter 2006), pp.185-214.
  • [...]
  • Jim Kelly, Charles Maturin: Authorship, Authenticity and the Nation (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2011), 208pp. [cover port. as in middle image supra.]
  • Benedict Seynhave & Raphael Ingelbien, ‘Whose Gothic Bard? Charles Robert Maturin and Contestations of Shakespearean Authority in British/Irish Romantic Culture’, in Shakespeare and Authority: Citations, Conceptions and Constructions, ed. Katie Halsey & Angus Vine (London: Palgrave [Macmillan] 2018), pp.281-300 - available at Google Books online [accessed 13.12.2018]

See also Ina Ferris, The Romantic National Tale and the Question of Ireland (Cambridge UP 2002), x, 205pp., espc. Chap. 4: ‘The Shudder of History: Irish Gothic and Ruin Writing’ q.pp.].

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  • ‘A List of Works of Charles Robert Maturin with Translations and Adaptions by Other Authors,’ in Melmoth the Wanderer (London: Bentley & Son 1892 [edn.]);
  • Dale Kramer, ‘Selected Bibliography’, in Charles Robert Maturin (NY: Twayne 1973).
  • Stephen Carver, ‘Charles Robert Maturin’, in Encyclopaedia of the Romantic Era, 1760-1850, gen. ed. Christopher John Murray (NY: Fizroy Dearborn [Taylor & Francis imp.] 2004), Vol. 2, pp.716-17 [includes crit. bibl., p.717].

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Peter Kavanagh, The Irish Theatre (Tralee: The Kerryman 1946), lists Bertram or The Castle of St. Aldobrando (DL 9 May 1816, 22 nights) 1816; Manuel (Drury Lane, 8 March 1817) printed 1817, and condemned by Coleridge; Fredolfo (Covent Garden, 12 May 1819) printed 1819; also Osmyn the Renegade or the Siege of Salerno (Th. Royal, Dublin, 30 March 1830), a failure and never printed. Kavanagh attaches the epithet ‘sentimentality and horror’ to these productions.

Brian McKenna, Irish Literature, 1800-1875: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale Research Co. 1978), lists James Clarence Mangan, ‘Sketches and Reminiscences of Irish Writers, No. 1, Maturin’, for The Irishman (24 March 1849, [p.187]) [‘understood many people; but nobody understood him in any way’]; also [q.auth.], ‘Conversations of Maturin,’ in New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal, 19 (1827), 401-11, 571-77, and Recollections of Maturin’, Do. 20 (1827), 146-52, 370-76. There is a correspondence between Sir Walter Scott and Maturin, ed. Fannie Ratchford and Will McCarthy (Texas 1937). Works incl. Sermons (1819); Five Sermons on the Errors of the Roman Catholic Church ([Folds, Dub.] 1824); Lines on the Battle of Waterloo (Millikin 1816), and ‘The Universe,’ a poem [falsely ascribed to James Wills]. Bibl, ‘A List of Works of Charles Robert Maturin with translations and adaptions by Other authors,’ in Melmoth the Wanderer (London 1892 edn.); Dale Kramer, ‘Selected Bibliography,’ in Kramer, op. cit., infra.; also commentaries, Niilo Idman, Charles Robert Maturin, His Life and Works (London 1923), 326pp.; William Scholten, Charles Robert Maturin, the Terror-Novelist (Paris 1933); H. W. Piper and A. N. Jeffares, ‘Maturin the Innovator,’ in Huntingdon Lib. Quarterly, 156 (NY: Twayne 1973); Dale Kramer, Charles Robert Maturin (NY: Twayne 1973); Robert E. Loughy [?recte Lougy], Charles Robert Maturin (Lewisburg: Bucknell UP 1975). 4 Ph.D. theses in US also cited.

Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English: The Romantic Period, 1789-1850 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1980), Vol. 2, cites General studies of Gothic dealing with Maturin such as those by Birkhead, Killen, Lévy, Railo, Summers, Varma, and also Mario Praz, The Romantic Flame [q.d.], as well as Dictionary of National Biography, New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, &c. Also lists Niilo Idman, Charles Robert Maturin: His Life and Works (London: Constable 1923), 326pp; W. Scholten, C. R. Maturin, The Terror-Novelist (Amst: H. J. Paris 1933), 197pp; B. J. Layman, C. R. Maturin and the Romance of Terror [unpub. thesis] (Virginia Univ. 1943); A Breton, Pref. to French trans of Melmoth (Paris: Pauvert 1954); H. W. Hinck, ‘Three Studies in Maturin’, [unpub. thesis] (Iowa Univ. 1954); M. A. Ruff ‘Maturin et les Romantiques Francais, intro. to Bertram (Paris: Conti 1956), incl. bibl.; J. B. Harris, ‘Charles Robert Maturin, a study’ [unpub. diss.] (Wayne Univ. 1965); J. J. Mayoux, ‘La grande création satanique du Rev. Maturin (Baudelaire)’, Etudes Anglaises, XXII, 4, Oct-Dec. 1969, pp.393-96; Claude Fierobe, ‘L’univers fantastique de Melmoth the Wanderer’ in La Raison et l’Imaginare, SAES, Actes du Congrés de Rennes 1970 (Didier [n.d.]), pp.105-116; Fierobe, Charles Robert Maturin, L’homme et l’oeuvre (Lille: PUL, Paris: Eds. Univ. 1974), 748pp.; Claude Fierobe, ‘A propos de Maturin, ni vrai, ni faux, mais fantastique’, Etudes Irlandaises, I, 3 (1974), pp.23-28; Claude Fierobe, ‘France in the Novels of Charles Robert Maturin’, in Patrick Rafroidi, et al. eds., France-Ireland, Literary Relations (1974), pp.119-131; Robert E. Lougy, C. R. Maturin (Lewisburg: Bucknell UP 1975); Claude Fierobe, ‘Quelques image de la nature irlandaise dans l’oeuvre de C. R. Maturin’ [SAES:] Actes de Congrés de St Etienne 1975 (Didier 1977), pp.117-124; Claude Fierobe, ‘Transgression et écriture, Maturin et le roman gothique’, in Cahier du Centre du Romantisme Anglais (Clermont-Ferrand 1976); also Dale Kramer, Charles Robt. Maturin [Irish Writers ser.] (NY: Twayne 1974), 166pp; J. Birhault, ‘Joyce et Maturin, L’heritage gothique de A Portrait’, in Cahier du Centre d’Etudes Anglo-Irlandaises, Rennes, 1 (1976), pp.51-60.

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2, selects extracts from Women; or, Pour et Contre [1115-17; long prefatory notice, ed. W. J. McCormack]; Bibl. cites Niilo Idman, Charles Robert Maturin, His Life and Works (Helsingfors 1923); W. Scholten, Charles Robert Maturin: The Terror Novelist (Amsterdam 1933); Fanny Elizabeth Rathford & William Henry McCarthy, eds., Correspondence of Sir Walter Scott and Charles Robert Maturin, with a Few Other Allied Letters (Univ. of Texas 1937). FDA selects Melmoth the Wanderer [854-66]; Note also remarks in W. J. McCormack, editorial essay, ‘Irish Gothic’, including quotation from Maturin’s account of the death of Lord Kilwarden, with the comment: ‘Here, immediacy of both time and place has replaced the exotic and antique. Moreover, the psychological trait that Maturin is seeking to examine is itself founded on a kind of permanent immediacy … These precise verbal repetitions enact a kind of identification between victim and witness which is at the heart of Maturin’s novel. Ideally, it aim at an effective abolition of the reader.’ (p.834.) Further, McCormack remarks that despite Scott’s guarded encouragement Maturin never disciplined his work which is remarkable for its Gothic complications and emotional extravagance. BIOG [FDA1, 1171]. Bibl., Douglas Grau, ed., Melmoth the Wanderer: A Tale (London: OUP 1968; espec. p.257n.; ref. in FDA2, p.835.)

Jeffrey N. Cox, ed., Seven Gothic Dramas 1789-1825 (Athens Ohio UP 1993) [426pp.], contains rep. of Bertram, or, The Castle of St Aldobrand (1816). Note that John Mullan (reviewing in Times Literary Supplement, 24 Dec. 1993) calls it ‘the most highly regarded tragedy of the era … even Coleridge’s attack was evidence of its achievement’, and remarks that Maturin turned assertions of emotional power into stage directions, ‘wildly; after much agitation; with frantic violence’.

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British Library (Printed Catalogue to 1975) lists [1] The Albigenses. A romance. By the author of ‘Bertram’, etc. [i.e. Charles Robert Maturin]. 4 vol. Hurst, Robinson & Co.: London, 1824. 12o. [2] The History of Count Bertram, an Italian nobleman, etc. [Founded on ‘Bertram,’ by C. R. Maturin.]. pp.32. W. Mason: London, [1816?] 12o. [3] Charles Robert Maturin: his life and works. [Another issue.]. pp.326. Helsingfors, 1923. 8o. Constable & Co.: London, 1923. 8o. [4] The Wild Irish Boy […] By the author of Montorio. 3 vol. Longman, Hurst & Co.: London, 1808. 12o. [5] Charles Robert Maturin. New York: Twayne Publishers, [1973]. ISBN 0 8057 1382 4 pp.166. 21 cm. [6] Manuel; a tragedy […] By the author of Bertram [i.e. Charles R. Maturin]. Third edition. pp.viii, 84. John Murray: London, 1817. 8o. [7] Manuel: a tragedy, in five acts [and in verse]. By the author of Bertram [C. R. Maturin]. London, 1817. 8o. [8] Bertram; or, the Castle of St. Aldobrand […] A romance taken from the tragedy by the Rev. R. C. Maturin. pp.30. S. Carvalho: London, [1825?] 12o. [9] Bertram; or, the Castle of St. Aldobrand […] Ninth edition. pp.80. John Murray: London, 1817. 8o. [10] Bertram; or, the Castle of St. Aldobrand; a tragedy, in five acts [and in verse]. Second edition. Third edition. Fifth edition. London, 1816. 8o. London, 1816. 8o. London, 1816. 8o. London, 1816. 8o. [11] Bertram, or, The castle of St. Aldobrand. A tragedy in five acts. 7th ed. London: John Murray, 1816. 82p; 21cm. [12] Bertram; or, the Castle of St. Aldobrand, etc. Eng. and Fr. Paris, [1830?] 12o. [13] Bertram, or, The castle of St. Aldorand. A tragedy in five acts. 4th ed. London: John Murray, 1816. 82p; 21cm. [14] Bertram, ou Le Château de St. Aldobrand, tragédie [in prose] traduite librement de l’Anglois […] par MM. Taylor et C. Nodier. [Another copy.] Paris, 1821. 8o. [15] Connal, ou les Milésiens […] Traduit de l’anglais [‘The Milesian Chief’] par Madame la Comtesse *** [de Molé]. 4 tom. Paris, 1828. 12o. [16] Eva, ou amour et religion […] Traduit de l’anglais [‘Women, or Pour et Contre’] sur la 2e édition, par M*****. 4 tom. Paris, 1818. 12o. [17] Five Sermons on the Errors of the Roman Catholic Church. Second edition. Dublin, 1824. 8o. Dublin, 1826. 12o. [18] Fredolfo; a tragedy, in five acts [and in verse]. London, 1819. 8o. [19] Melmoth, the Wanderer; a melo-drama, etc. [by B. West. Founded on the novel of C. R. Maturin]. [1830?] [20] Melmoth the Wanderer […] A new edition from the original text, with a memoir and bibliography of Maturin’s works. 3 vol. R. Bentley & Son: London, 1892. 8o. [21] Melmoth the Wanderer; edited with an introduction by Douglas Grant. London: Oxford University Press, 1968. SBN 19 255318 6 xx, 560 p. 21 cm. [22] Melmoth the wanderer, etc. pp.542. New English Library: London, 1966. 8o. 23] Sermons. Second edition. London, 1819. 8o. London, 1821. 8o. [24] Tales of Mystery. [Extracts from the works of] […] Maturin. Edited by G. Saintsbury. 1891. [25] The Universe: a poem. By […] C. R. Maturin [or rather, by James Wills]. pp.108. H. Colburn & Co.: London, 1821. 8o. [26] The Milesian Chief. A romance. By the author of Montorio, and The Wild Irish Boy [i.e. Charles Robert Maturin]. 4 vol. H. Colburn: London, 1812.12o. [27] Charles Robert Maturin, the terror-novelist. Academisch proefschrift, etc. Eng. pp.197. H. J. Paris: Amsterdam, 1933. 8o. [28] Melmoth the Wanderer: a Melo-dramatic Romance, in Three Acts [and in prose], founded on the novel of that name. [By R. C. Maturin.]. [London, 1823.] 8o. [29] Women; or, Pour et Contre. A tale. By the author of ‘Bertram.’ etc. [i.e. C. R. Maturin.] [Another copy.]. 3 vol. Edinburgh, 1818. 12o. FURTHER TITLES (in combined references catalogues): [1] Fatal revenge, Charles Maturin. 1994. [2] Mel’mot skitalets Charlz Robert Met’iurin izdanie podgotovili M.P. Alekseev i A.M. Shadrin. 1983. [3] Melmouth the wanderer Charles Maturin introduced by Devendra P. Varma and illustrated by Felix Zakar. 1993. [4] Bertram or, the castle of St Aldobrand Charles Maturin. 1992. [5] Melmoth the Wanderer Charles Maturin edited by Douglas Grant with a new introduction by Chris Baldick. 1989, c1968. [6] Fatal revenge; or, The family of Montorio a romance by Dennis Jasper Murphy. 1974. [7] Melmoth the Wanderer a tale Charles Robert Maturin edited with an introduction by Althea Hayter. 1977. [8] Melmoth ratacitorul romanul gotic englez Charles Robert Maturin traducere de Bianca Zamfirescu prefata si tabel cronologic de Dan Grigorescu. 1983. [9] Mel’mot skitalets Charlz Robert Met’iurin [perevod s angliiskogo A.M. Shadrina] izdanie podgotovili M.P. Alekseev, A.M. Shadrin. 1976.

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COPAC lists [1] Melmoth the Wanderer / Charles Maturin; introduced by Devendra P. Varma; and illustrated by Felix Zakar 1993. [2] Melmoth the wanderer / Charles Maturin; edited by Douglas Grant; with a new introduction by Chris Baldick 1989. 3] Bertram, or, The Castle of St Aldobrand / Charles Maturin 1992. [4] Melmoth the Wanderer: a tale / C. R. Maturin; edited with an introduction by Douglas Grant 1968. [5] The Wild Irish boy / [by] Charles Robert Maturin; with an introduction by Robert Lee Wolff 1979. [6] Women: or, Pour et contre / Charles Robert Maturin; with an introduction by Robert Lee Wolff 1979. [7] The Milesian chief / [by] Charles Robert Maturin; with an introduction by Robert Lee Wolff 1979. [8] Melmoth, the wanderer: a melo-dramatic romance, in three acts (founded on the popular novel of that name,) performed, for the first time, at the Royal Coburg Theatre, on Monday, the 14th of July, 1823 1823. [9] Bertram: or, The castle of St. Aldobrand: a tragedy in five acts / by the Rev. R.C. Maturin 1816. 10] Bertram; or, The castle of St. Aldobrand: A tragedy, in five acts / By the Rev. R.C. Maturin; With prefatory remarks; The only edition existing which is faithfully marked with the stage business, and stage directions, as it is performed at the Theatres Royal. By W. Oxberry, comedian 1827. [11] Fatal revenge / Charles Maturin 1994. [12] Melmoth the wanderer 1965. [13] Bertram; or, Le chateau de Saint-Aldobrand / Traduit librement de l’anglais par Taylor et Ch. Nodier. Ed. commentee et precedee d’une introd. sur Maturin et les romantiques francais, par Marcel A. Ruff 1956. [14] Melmoth the Wanderer: a tale / [by] Charles Robert Maturin; edited with an introduction by Althea Hayter 1977.

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Melmoth the Wanderer
(1820) - Plot summary:

General: The central character, Melmoth (a type of the Wandering Jew), is a scholar who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for 150 years of extra life which he spends searching for someone who will take over the devil’s pact on the same terms. Although novel takes place in the present, the back-story is revealed through a series of nested stories-within-a-story which work backwards through historical time.

Chapter I: Opening 1816, the novel tells how John Melmoth, a student at Trinity College, Dublin, visits his dying uncle at his home where he sees a portrait of his namesake dated “1646” and catches a glimpse of “the Traveller”.

Chapter II: Following the death of his uncle - which much foreboding - his servant Biddy Brannigan tells John the family story at the funeral. In her account, a stranger called Stanton arrived some decades ago looking for Traveller (i.e., Melmoth the Traveller), and left behind a manuscript which John now finds and begins to read. It is a document marred by lacunae which the novelist marks with asterisks - though these clearly serve to justify its episodic structure.

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.

Chapter III: Stanton’s story opens in Spain of the 1670s when the Inquisition of the Dominican Order is in full flow. Stanton encounters the Traveller laughing at the sight of two lovers who have been blasted by lightning. An old Spanish woman tells him the story of the Cardoza wedding at which the Traveller was an uninvited guest, relating that bride died on her wedding night and the bridegroom went mad. Stanton then sets out in pursuit of the Traveller and catches up with him in a London theatre. The Traveller tells him they will meet again. Stanton’s obsession with the Traveller is regarded as a form of madness and he is consequently tricked into entering a madhouse as a patient. There, Melmoth appears and offers to free him - but Stanton refuses. Escaping by his own ingenuity, Stanton then goes looking for the Traveller in Ireland but to no avail. The novel now returns to John who, following his uncle’s wish, burns the portrait of his malign ancestors and later that night he is visited by him in his dreams.

Chapter IV: The following stormy night, John witnesses the Traveller laughing at a shipwreck. John tries to approach him, but slips and falls into the sea.

Chapter V-VIII: John is saved from drowning by the sole survivor of the wreck, a Spaniard called Alonzo Monçada, who begins to tell him his story which occupies the next seven chapters and, in fact, takes over the novel. In Chapter VI, he is unwillingly confined in a monastery by his family. In Chapter VII, his appeal to leave the monastery is rejected by the ecclesiastical authorities but his brother Juan sends messages saying he will help him escape. In Chapter VIII, he attempts to escape with the help of a fellow monk, a parricide and a corrupt being who is compared with Judas in avariciousness and vice. (He has murdered his father for money to pay his gambling debts but is protected by his aristocratic status and the corrupt regime of the monks.

Chapter IX: Monçada’s continues his tale which concludes with the his escapes and the death of his brother in a pre-arranged trap. In Chapter X, we find that Monçada has been captured and is now examined by the Inquisition in its prison. He is visited by the Traveller in Chapter XI, and finally escapes during a fire which the Traveller has presumably started - have promised to help him to get away.

Chapter XII: Monçada makes his way to the house of a Jewish scholar called Adonijah, living in a secret room decorated with the skeletons of his own family. In exchange for food and shelter Adonijah compels Monçada to transcribe a manuscript for him called “the Tale of the Indians” Adonijah then helps Monçada tp escape through a secret trapdoor into an underground passage just before some officers of the Inquisition arrive to arrest him.Some monks of the Inquisition now drag Monçada across a vaulted room, presenting him to a bishop - the scene illustrated by Eugène Delacroix in his famous oil of 1831.

The Tales

Besides the “The Spaniard’s Tale”, the narrative harbours several other tales in the manner of a Russian doll. The first of these is “The Tale of the Indians” [Chapter XIV onwards], narrated by Adonajah and transcribed by Monçada - which he then narrates to John Melmoth - which tells of an Indian Ocean island said to be haunted by a white goddess named “Immalee who, in reality, is a cast away. There she is visited by Melmoth who says he comes from ‘the world that suffers‘, beyond her island. Melmoth attempts to destroy her innocence by teaching her the reality of human society and religion. She now falls in love with him and begs him to stay with her he does not. Three years later, when Immalee = now called Isidora - has been reunited with her family in Madrid, Melmoth appears again and elopes with her night leading her to a remote chapel where they are married by an undead hermit.

Isidora’s father, seeking her, encounters a stranger at an inn who now tells him “The Tale of Guzman’s Family” [Chapter XXV-XXVIII]. Guzman is a wealthy Spanish merchant whose sister marries a poor German musician, Walberg. Guzman decides to make Walberg’s family his heirs but when he dies it seems that he has left everything to the church and the family sinks into dire poverty. Driven to insanity, Walberg decides to kill himself and his family together but, just before he does so, news arrives that the true will has been found and the family is thus saved. By this point in the story, Isidora’s father has fallen asleep, and wakes to find the stranger at the inn replaced by Melmoth who, in turn tells him “The Lovers’ Tale” [Chapter XXIX], a story about a young woman in Yorkshire named Elinor who is jilted at the altar and is subsequently tempted by Melmoth, but refuses his help.

At this point “The Tale of the Indians” resumes [Chapter XXXIII-XXVII]: Isidora returns to her family - now pregnant with Melmoth’s child. Feeling a presentiment that she will not survive the birth, she gets Melmoth to promise that the child will be raised as a Christian. Isidora’s father finds a husband for her, but in the middle of the wedding celebrations, Melmoth tries to abduct Isidora. When her brother attempts to intervene, Melmoth kills him. Isidora then falls senseless and Melmoth escapes. Isidora now reveals that she is already married to Melmoth and, when she gives birth, she and her baby daughter are imprisoned by the Inquisition whose officers threate to take away the child before finding that it is already dead. Dying of grief, Isidora recalls her island paradise, and asks if he (Melmoth) will be in the heavenly paradise.

Chapter XXXVIII: Monçada and John are now interrupted by the appearance of Melmoth himself. He confesses to them his purpose on Earth and tells them that his extended life is almost over with his succeeding in tempting another into damnation: ‘I have traversed the world in the search, and no one to gain that world, would lose his own soul!’ Melmoth the Wanderer now dreams [’The Wanderer’s Dream”] of his own encroaching damnation and the salvation of Stanton, Walberg, Elinor, Isidora and Monçada. He asks John and Monçada to leave him alone for his last few hours of mortal existence. They hear terrible sounds from the room, but when they enter, the room is empty. They follow Melmoth’s tracks to the top of a cliff, and see his


Note: The above summary is based on the ‘synopsis’ of Melmoth the Wanderer given at CreateSpace edition (2010) on the Abebooks website and the plot-summary ont he Wikipedia website - both accessed 13.12.2018.

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Meet the Melmoths

Oscar Wilde: Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) provided Oscar Wilde - who was related to Maturin on his mother’s side - her aunt Jane being married to Maturin - with a pseudonym after his release from Reading Gaol. The name itself was originally derived from a character in Thomas Amory’s Life of John Buncle (1756-66).

Charles Henry Maturin (1799-62) was a vicar of Ringwood, New Forest District, Hants., in England; he was born in Eton, attended the school of that name (Oppidan) and King’s School (K.S.) and grad. with BA and MA from King’s College, Cambridge; buried in St Peter and St Paul’s Churchyard, Ringwood. Alleged [err.] to be the author of Bertram [See Findagrave - online.]

Melmoth (2): a Gulielmi [William] Melmoth was buried in Bath Cathedral in 1799, with memorial, ‘[…] ipse neque inelegans, ne ineruditus [… &c.]’. (Q.source.)

Meet the Maturins

Anthony Trollope gave the name of Maturin to his anti-hero in The Way We Live Now (1875);

Patrick O’Brian: Maturin is also the name of the Anglo-Irish ship’s doctor in the Aubrey–Maturin maritime novels set in the Napoleonic War, between 1800 and 1816, and written by the author Patrick O’Brian, in fact and English writer using an Irish-sounding pseudonym. The series is a sequence of 20 and an unfinished fragment - nautical historical novels in which the sagacity of the Irishman, Stephen Maturin, balances the boldness of the English captain, Jack Aubrey.


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James Joyce: Joyce appears to have borrowed the phrase ‘mutinous Shannon waves’ - used in ‘The Dead’ (Dubliners, 1914) - from Maturin’s Milesian Chief [information attrib. to Jean Foster]. The phrase is not to found in Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) - and nor is it located in his earlier The Wild Irish Boy (1808). Nor is Its place in The Milesian Chief (1812) substantiated in the Google search-tool connected with the PDF copy of the text [see works - supra.]. There is, however, as strong indication that Joyce knew and remembered at least the prefatory Dedication to The Milesian Chief in which the author writes: ‘I have chosen my own country for the scene, because I believe it is the only country on earth [... &c.].’ This seems to be echoed by Joyce where he writes ‘I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysis.’ - in a letter to Grant Richards [as under Joyce > Quotations - supra]. The source in Maturin - if any - is certainly unknown to Irish crtiics such as for instance, Frank Shovlin who considers the origin of the reference in a detailed discussion in Journey Westward: Joyce, Dubliners and the Literary Revival (Liverpool UP 2012) - as quoted in Joyce > Literary Texts > Dubliners - supra.

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Here’s an interesting - as-yet unconsidered - Joyce-Maturin connection. Take the prefatory dedication of The Milesian Chief (1808) - addressed facetiously by Maturin to reviewers of his earlier books: "[...] In the following pages I have tried to apply these powers to the scenes of actual life: and I have chosen my own country for the scene, because I believe it is the only country on earth, where, from the extremes of refinement and barbarism are united, and the most wild and incredible situations of romantic story are hourly passing before modern eyes.” (The Milesian Chief, 1808, p.iv-v).

What does that remind you of? When the publication of Dubliners looked quaky, Joyce wrote to Grant Richards in 1907: "My intention was to write a chapter in the moral history of my country and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysis.” I chose and I have chosen .. for the scene ... because .. . Surely this is the same construction and virtually the same turn of phrase? Given Joyce’s knack for verbal borrowings this suggests to me that he did examined that older novel, at least the front pages. [see Maturin's prefatory notice - attached.]

BS / 14.12.2108.

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