Nightmare Abbey is a novella by Thomas Love Peacock, first published in 1818, and widely considered to be Peacock’s most enduringly popular work.
The narrative centres on Christopher Glowry, a miserly widower, his son Scythrop and a host of dismal-sounding servants in his family pile, Nightmare Abbey. Recovering from an ill-fated love affair, Scythrop dreams up various schemes to reform and regenerate the human species, but misanthropy lurks around every corner, and everything changes when a mermaid is spotted and a strange woman appears in his chamber.
Although fundamentally a Gothic novel, and rich in allusion – from Pope to Dante, Rossini to Mozart – Nightmare Abbey is, at heart, a satire.
The ups and downs of literary reputations are often slightly mysterious. I still find it strange, though, that although we pay ample homage to most of the heavyweights of the nineteenth century, one...Read more