Communing with the dead
The medium and media of Fatal revenge
in Charles Robert Maturin and the haunting of Irish Romantic fiction
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Charles Robert Maturin's first novel, Fatal revenge, fundamentally pivots on the return of the dead. For Maturin's readers, Fatal revenge's insistent emphasis on the incestuousness of genders and genres may well have appeared particularly striking in the context of the contemporary Irish social and political scene. Maturin's The Milesian chief is identified as the transition point between the national tale and the historical novel as well as that between the national tale and the Gothic novel of the later nineteenth century. Fatal revenge acts as a primary literary juncture. In fact, it might be analysed usefully as a medium between Gothic novel and national tale, possessing elements of both. Fatal revenge vitally mixes the two, and, in so doing, stresses the fundamental importance of a Gothic sense of the past in the national tale.

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