Verging on the Gothic
Melmoth’s journey to France
in European Gothic
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Melmoth reconcilie is Honore Balzac's sequel to Charles Maturin's novel, and it becomes extremely interesting as it attempts to lead readers out of the Gothic into the world of proper bourgeois writing. Maturin becomes a soothsayer, disseminating in France the ashes and sparks of his words, to use a Shelleyan image. Melmoth journeys to France not only to inform Baudelairian darkness or Surrealistic fantasies, but also to signify how a life can be corroded by barren capitalism as well as instinct and desire. Melmoth the Wanderer darkly conveys the disturbing forces plaguing society, and depicts potential disruption and the violence inherent in humanity. Melmoth plays obsessively with textual boundaries, embedding narrative layers to create a fractal set of Chinese boxes. Melmoth's doomed, weary quest is shared by the reader who shifts from story to story at the very moment when satisfactory closure is denied.

European Gothic

A spirited exchange 1760-1960

Editor: Avril Horner

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