This book addresses the intriguing incongruity between naming Charles Robert Maturin as a 'well-known' author of the Romantic period and the lack of any real critical analysis of his works in the past thirty years. The central thesis of the book is that Maturin's novels provide the key to a new understanding of Irish national fiction as a peculiarly haunted form of literature. Specifically, it argues that Maturin's too often overlooked body of fiction forcefully underscores the haunting presence of the past and past literary forms in early nineteenth-century Irish literature. It is a presence so often omitted and/or denied in current critical studies of Irish Romantic fiction. The book represents a project of ghost-hunting and ghost-conjuring. It investigates the ways in which Maturin's fourth novel attempts to build on the ruins of the Irish nation by describing the fissures produced by religious sectarianism in the country. The book makes use of the rarely consulted correspondence between Maturin and the publisher Archibald Constable. It does this to emphasise the manner in which Maturin's completion of his novel, Melmoth the wanderer was at all times crowded by, and, indeed, infiltrated with, his work on competing texts. These include books of sermons, Gothic dramas, short stories, and epic poems interspersed with prose narrative.
Catholicism as System in Charles Maturin‘s Melmoth the Wanderer
Dermot A. Ryan
This essay casts a new light on the anti-Catholicism of Charles Robert Maturin‘s gothic novel Melmoth the Wanderer by reading it as part of a larger assault on systems in the wake of the French Revolution. Maturin‘s attack on the stupendous system of Catholicism contributes to a broader conservative polemic against all forms of international governance. Melmoth the Wanderer‘s portrait of the Church offers us an early instance of modern conservatisms archnemesis: an international system that conspires to rule the world.
This essay discusses the possibility of a new reading of Charles Maturins Bertram; or, The Castle of St. Aldobrandon the basis of a hitherto ignored manuscript, ‘Epilogue’ to the drama found in the archives of publisher John Murray. The essay adds a new chapter to the tormented publishing history of this work and sheds light on the ambiguous and shifting moral and political interpretations given by both Maturin and his audience to one of the most famous Gothic dramas.
-first-century Ireland, Maturin, like the ghost of
Hamlet’s father, insists that we pay attention to our origins, to
the people and events we have now forgotten but which continue still to
shape and inform our society and culture.
Letter from CharlesRobertMaturin to Sir Walter
Scott, 2 July 1816, appended to the handwritten
Spectres of Maturin; or, the ghosts of Irish Romantic fiction
Dead and gone: Marturin’s
The year 2010 marked the 230th
anniversary of the birth of the Anglo-Irish clergyman and author CharlesRobertMaturin ( 1780–1824 ). Famous for his popular Gothic drama,
Bertram; or, the castle of St Aldobrand ( 1816 ) and a landmark Gothic
novel, Melmoth the wanderer ( 1820 ), Maturin is considered a
Both the 1892 edition of Melmoth the
Wanderer and Montague Summers’s bibliography of Gothic
works lists the publication date as 1825, but the online catalogues
for the British Library and Trinity College Dublin library, where
copies of the play are held, list an uncertain 1830; see ‘A
list of works by CharlesRobertMaturin, with translations and
French background who
utilised English, Welsh and Irish settings in his fiction. Le Fanu
has been persistently aligned with a so-called Irish gothic
tradition, inaugurated by CharlesRobertMaturin (another Dublin
Huguenot) and rendered notorious by Bram Stoker whose Dracula
successfully transferred to the twentieth century and the snuff
movie. Quite enough has been written
CharlesRobertMaturin, The fatal revenge;
or, the family of Montorio , 3 vols (London: Longman, Hurst,
Rees & Orme, 1807 ), 3:
492–3. Future references are to this edition and are given
parenthetically in the text.
CharlesRobertMaturin, The Albigenses, a
romance , 4 vols (London: Hurst, Robinson & Co., 1824 ), 1: vii. Future
references are to this edition and are given parenthetically in the
BL 41996/27, letter from Maturin to Hurst,
Robinson & Co., 25 June 1821