Nightmare Abbey

Nightmare Abbey

This 1818 novel is set in a former abbey whose owner, Christopher Glowry, is host to visitors who enjoy his hospitality and engage in endless debate. Among these guests are figures recognizable to Peacock's contemporaries, including characters based on Lord Byron and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Mr. Glowry's son Scythrop (also modeled on a famous Romantic, Peacock's friend Per...

DownloadRead Online
Title:Nightmare Abbey
Author:Thomas Love Peacock
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Nightmare Abbey Reviews

  • Bruce

    I read this astounding little book in a 1891 edition that must have been found not on the dusty back shelves of the University Library but, indeed, in its catacombs, so dog-eared and fragile and yellowed with age it is, printed on thickened almost cardboard-like pages, perhaps, could one believe it, almost on parchment; all this being entirely in keeping with its hilariously droll and melancholic character, reflecting the wit and woefulness of its 1818 author, a friend of Shelley who was determi

    I read this astounding little book in a 1891 edition that must have been found not on the dusty back shelves of the University Library but, indeed, in its catacombs, so dog-eared and fragile and yellowed with age it is, printed on thickened almost cardboard-like pages, perhaps, could one believe it, almost on parchment; all this being entirely in keeping with its hilariously droll and melancholic character, reflecting the wit and woefulness of its 1818 author, a friend of Shelley who was determined both to see the world through world-weary and jaundiced eyes and to lampoon it. His characters themselves, anticipating Anthony Trollope and Charles Dickens by half a century, are given names commensurate with their personalities - Mr. Glowry, Mr. Hilary, Mr. Toobad, Diggory Deathshead, Mr. Flosky, the Reverend Mr. Larynx. The initial description of the Abbey is straight out of the Gothic Romantic tradition, satirized with a straight face and stiff British upper lip.

    Peacock’s intent, in fact, is to satirize the entire Romantic movement, which he apparently found absurd. To that end, he models his characters in many cases after well-known Romantic personages, the most obvious and delightfully drawn being Mr. Flosky, meant to be Coleridge, whom he skewers mercilessly and gleefully.

    The plot, really the vehicle for extended scintillating repartee among varying combinations of marvelously drawn and contrasting characters, is a melodramatic mélange of romantic misalliances and confused motivations. Peacock’s vocabulary and literary allusions are outrageously funny, his humor mordent and biting. This tiny book, easily read in less than a couple of hours, is guaranteed to amuse and delight the reader, and I recommend it highly.

  • Tim

    Oh, I

    this book. This is exactly what I was hoping Austen's Northanger Abbey would be. It's a consistently funny send up of just about every gothic trope and figure at the time (some of these characters are clearly stand ins for Byron and Shelly).

    Oh, I

    this book. This is exactly what I was hoping Austen's Northanger Abbey would be. It's a consistently funny send up of just about every gothic trope and figure at the time (some of these characters are clearly stand ins for Byron and Shelly). This is a book where its characters delight in being miserable, overly melodramatic and find mysteries where perhaps there are none. The parody of the gothic tropes play off so well, for example a character hires people based on their names, because he wants only the gloomiest. Thus a butler named Raven and a steward named Crow (and he once hired a footman named Deathshead, but the man was too cheerful and had to go).

    The humor is genuinely funny with several lines that not only brought a smile to my face, but genuinely had me laughing. One of the characters, Mr. Flosky, brought about a grin just about any time he had dialogue. He's a transcendental metaphysician, who seems to have a thesaurus in his head judging by his vocabulary. He talks a great deal, without actually saying very much; for in his own words "if any person living could make report of having obtained any information on any subject from Ferdinando Flosky, my transcendental reputation would be ruined for ever." That sums him up perfectly, and it is comedy gold. Much of the humor is modern enough in style that it could have been written by Terry Pratchett, rather than a book published in 1818.

    Perhaps, I should note, that the book is not for everyone. Peacock makes a lot of references to then current trends and authors, which unless one has read quite a few gothics or are at least very familiar with the central figures of the movement, will probably go over the readers head. He makes no apologies for this and seem to delight in the mockery of some of the figures. That said, if you know Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, then this is a book for you.

    A rare 5 out of 5 stars.

  • Sheri

    So I was trolling around on Gutenberg yesterday in the horror section (I gotta love me some gothic horror) and thought this such a remarkable name. And so I picked it up and it was absolutely perfectly quaint (old fashioned language and witty repartee cracks me up). Unfortunately, though, this was not horror. It was funny (and the sarcasm is fabulous), and it is short and compelling but other than a manservant who sleep walks and is mistaken for a ghost, there is no real horror. I was all atwitt

    So I was trolling around on Gutenberg yesterday in the horror section (I gotta love me some gothic horror) and thought this such a remarkable name. And so I picked it up and it was absolutely perfectly quaint (old fashioned language and witty repartee cracks me up). Unfortunately, though, this was not horror. It was funny (and the sarcasm is fabulous), and it is short and compelling but other than a manservant who sleep walks and is mistaken for a ghost, there is no real horror. I was all atwitter in the beginning with the construction of secret rooms and passages, but alas they were only used to hide a fair maiden from her father (and she never even spooked anyone with noises in the walls).

    I think the most amazing aspect of this little gem written in early 1800s is the feminist perspective: "how is it that their minds are locked up? The fault is in their artificial education, which studiously models them into mere musical dolls, to be set out for sale in the great toy shop of society" is Scythrop's defense of womanhood and later he falls in love (truly! although the silly man cannot be swayed from Marietta's beauty) with Celinda because of her intellectual discussions: "Stella...displayed a highly cultivated and energetic mind, full of impassioned schemes of liberty, and impatience of masculine usurpation".

    I thought the names perfectly aptly silly (Listless, Larynx, Toobad, etc). Overall it was a wonderful little read, my favorite quips are below:

    "She discovered, when it was too late, that she had mistaken the means for the end--that riches, rightly used, are instruments of happiness, but are not in themselves happiness."

    "he was sent, as usual, to a public school, where a little learning was painfully beaten into him, and from thence to the university, where it was carefully taken out of him; and he was sent home like a well-threshed ear of corn, with nothing in his head"

    "The esse of things is percipi. They exist as they are perceived...we may very safely assert that the esse of happiness is percipi. It exists as it is perceived. It is the mind that maketh well or ill. The elements of pleasure and pain are everywhere."

    "Misanthropy is sometimes the product of disappointed benevolence; but it is more frequently the offspring of overweening and mortified vanity, quarreling with the world for not being better treated than it deserves."

  • Alex

    is a minor classic of gothic comedy, in the vein of

    Thomas Peacock hung out with the Shelleys and their crew; his protagonist here, Scythorp Glowry, is based on Percy Bysshe.

    It's slight and short and fun. Peacock is one of those authors who takes pleasure in making sentences and cares less for where they end up. His prose is ornate and sometimes requires reading twice, but it's a short book so it's no big deal. His vocabulary is obscure and sometimes invented; m

    is a minor classic of gothic comedy, in the vein of

    Thomas Peacock hung out with the Shelleys and their crew; his protagonist here, Scythorp Glowry, is based on Percy Bysshe.

    It's slight and short and fun. Peacock is one of those authors who takes pleasure in making sentences and cares less for where they end up. His prose is ornate and sometimes requires reading twice, but it's a short book so it's no big deal. His vocabulary is obscure and sometimes invented; my favorite new word is "antithalian," meaning "opposed to fun or festivity," and which this book isn't. He deploys spectacular images, describing (for example) a novel as "A mass of vice, under a thin and unnatural covering of virtue, like a spider wrapt in a bit of gold leaf, and administered like a wholesome pill." His bouillabaisse includes flavors of

    and of course

    His characters are memorable caricatures. Mr. Toobad constantly intones, "The devil is come among you, having great wrath." Mr. Flosky is a nihilist, gleefully predicting impending entropy. Everyone frequently speaks in play-style dialogue.

    The plot is nearly irrelevant. Glowry is in love with two women. He keeps one of them locked in a secret compartment, because why not. Mostly everyone sits around chatting; Gore Vidal calls it a "symposium novel." "We are most of us like Don Quixote," Peacock says, "to whom a windmill was a giant, and Dulcinea a magnificent princess: all more or less the dupes of our own imagination." Peacock has decided not to fight it.

  • Bionic Jean

    was written in 1818 by Thomas Love Peacock. It is a gothic satire, which delights in parodying the current fashions of the time, such as the Romantic Movement in Literature and Transcendental Philosophy. Although the modern reader can enjoy these witty descriptions even today, it is debatable whether all the allusions can be appreciated without an indepth study of the work, as Peacock referred to many friends of the family and historical characters.

    The emphasis is on morbid the

    was written in 1818 by Thomas Love Peacock. It is a gothic satire, which delights in parodying the current fashions of the time, such as the Romantic Movement in Literature and Transcendental Philosophy. Although the modern reader can enjoy these witty descriptions even today, it is debatable whether all the allusions can be appreciated without an indepth study of the work, as Peacock referred to many friends of the family and historical characters.

    The emphasis is on morbid themes, a gloomy environment, misanthropy and macabre doings. These are easily recognisable as common Romantic themes. The Philosophical sections are most entertaining, being written in such a heavy-handed fashion. They are declaimed by one of the most risible characters, Mr. Flosky, who views himself as a Transcendentalist, much given to musings about Analytical versus Synthetical Reasoning, and who has named his son

    .

    In case the reader is in any doubt as to whether to take Flosky's outpourings seriously, Peacock helpfully pokes fun at him amongst all his philosophical peregrinations. For instance, there is a part where Flosky finds himself saying,

    And I personally laughed out loud at the point when,

    The character of Mr. Flosky is apparently based on the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

    In fact all the characters are mouthpieces for Peacock's wit and satire. The main one, Scythrop, is based on Peacock's friend, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and is more a case of Peacock humorously poking fun than a bitter parody. The character talks a great deal (but to no real effect) about social regeneration, is prone to moods and fancies, and very taken with the gothic and the mysterious.

    As such, the plot is a minor consideration; a mere device to hold Peacock's sketches. And even within the confines of this structure it is very loose. The first quarter is a clear narrative, but then it is set out intermittently as a play. When a character is about to make a statement, their name is set as a title, with their speech following. After a few pages of this, the narrative then resumes.

    The "action" takes place in a semi-dilapidated family mansion, Nightmare Abbey, which is owned by Mr. Glowry, Scythrop's father. It is situated on a strip of dry land between the sea and the fens in Lincolnshire, or as Peacock nicely describes the county,

    On being introduced to Mr. Glowry as an

    character, we have the feel of the novella established right from the start. The author has a penchant for unusual words of this sort; words not in common usage and some, indeed, so obscure that the reader may suspect Peacock of having gleefully conflated one or two nouns or adjectives to invent his own delicious new description.

    The word

    however, tells us that this tale and its players will be characterised by melancholy or gloom. Its secondary meaning, of someone likely to become ill, describes Mr. Glowry perfectly. We are told that he cannot stand to see any other people cheerful. The only visitors he accepts to the mansion are friends who share the same melancholy. There is an amusing account right at the beginning where it is shown that Mr. Glowry only employs servants who have a long face or a dismal name, such as Raven or Graves. He inadvertently employs a man called Deathshead, but,

    His son Scythrop, literally

    is named after a maternal ancestor who had hanged himself. The two of them, Scythrop and Mr. Glowry, use his skull as a punchbowl. And there you have an additional feature, the love of the macabre.

    As the action proceeds we are introduced to yet more characters, Mr. Listless and Mr. Toobad, whose names speak for themselves, and Mr. Cypress, a misanthropic poet who is based on Lord Byron. There is the Rev. Larynx and an icthyologist called Mr. Asterias. Also there is a rare character

    Mr. Hilary, and his very correct wife. They have a daughter, their perfectly named Marionetta - a wooden puppet by both name and character. She,

    Scythrop decides at various times to be in love with Marionetta, although Mr. Toobad's daughter Celinda is also in the mix.

    The character Mr. Listless perfectly embodies the affected misanthropy, ennui and world-weariness of contemporary writers, philosophers and intellectuals. He is also meant to represent the

    , which in itself is a term thought to have been invented by Coleridge (although this character is thought to have been based on a friend of Shelley's.) Here is one of his bon mots,

    Altogether it is an entertaining light - though occasionally very wordy - dalliance for the modern reader. Here is an example of a passage on metaphysical subtleties as voiced by Flosky, which needs careful attention,

    But once the meaning has been teased out it may be thought amusing.

    I was surprised to discover that it was Peacock's third novel, and written when he was 33, as it has very much the flavour of undergraduate humour. It feels like a piece written by a young university student for the entertainment of his friends. All the in-jokes, the portraits of friends both dear and not so dear, the "showing-off" aspect of recently learned intellectual theories, the poking-fun at what has gone before and the daring pushing of boundaries, seem classic fare for a quick-witted, lively young mind.

    The other enjoyable factor for me was in seeing the roots of more modern genres - and even tracing the ancestry of particular ideas and styles. Another reader will no doubt have different examples of writers influenced by this work popping into their mind. But for me, Scythrop sulking in his tower was heavily reminiscent of Mervyn Peake's Steerpike in Gormenghast castle. Of course this is the "wrong way round". But perhaps Peake's far more modern (1940's and 50's) gothic trilogy owes its initial conception to Nightmare Abbey.

    For me, the style kept recalling Oscar Wilde's acerbic wit, such as,

    Or this wonderfully bitter observation,

    For these and many other witty observations alone it is worth a read, and it has an assured place in Classic Literature. If you love late 18th and early 19th Century English Classics you will probably enjoy this. It must have been an outstanding work of its time. But does it deserve a place in the

    as recently suggested by a major newspaper? Personally I am not so sure.

  • Priyanka

    Although the plot of

    is cardboard-thin, it is full of interesting characters and parodic situations. The plot is mainly used as a convenience to deliver the conversations of the residents and guests of the Nightmare Abbey, who happened to be some of the most poetic and philosophical minds in England at the time. The dialog - which widely varied from intellectual nourishing of romantic melancholy, to novelty in literature, to reason versus mysticism, to transcendentalism, to ide

    Although the plot of

    is cardboard-thin, it is full of interesting characters and parodic situations. The plot is mainly used as a convenience to deliver the conversations of the residents and guests of the Nightmare Abbey, who happened to be some of the most poetic and philosophical minds in England at the time. The dialog - which widely varied from intellectual nourishing of romantic melancholy, to novelty in literature, to reason versus mysticism, to transcendentalism, to ideal beauty - attributed to each of the characters, highlights their individual foibles delightfully.

    Even though it echoes the views of the early nineteenth century, this book is still funny today.

  • Sawsan

    رواية نُشرت عام 1818 للأديب الانجليزي توماس لف بيكوك

    بيكوك من كُتاب الأدب الساخر في القرن التاسع عشر

    رواية ساخرة ومرحة تنقد الاتجاهات والأفكار السائدة في ذلك الوقت

    الحركة الرومانسية في الأدب والفكر وما يصاحبها من قلق وتعاسة وكآبة

    الكاتب اختار اسم كل شخصية تعبر عن أفكارها ونظرتها للحياة

    والحوار مميز ما بين الحوارات الفلسفية والعبثية

  • Bookdragon Sean

    is a work by a lesser writer surrounded by excellent peers. He lacked the personal brilliance and powerful originality to create his own masterpiece; thus, he satirised those that were better than him. He teased them, mocked them and attacked their idiosyncrasies here.

    We have a caricature of Shelley and a twisted version of Byron. Samuel Taylor Coleridge is also attacked and ridiculed. Peacock provides a sharp critique on some of the texts and ideas that formed the backbone of R

    is a work by a lesser writer surrounded by excellent peers. He lacked the personal brilliance and powerful originality to create his own masterpiece; thus, he satirised those that were better than him. He teased them, mocked them and attacked their idiosyncrasies here.

    We have a caricature of Shelley and a twisted version of Byron. Samuel Taylor Coleridge is also attacked and ridiculed. Peacock provides a sharp critique on some of the texts and ideas that formed the backbone of Romanticism. Its clever writing, and at moments it is actually quite funny, but it annoys me that he actually wrote this. Could he not have come up with something new, something more individual that sticking a bunch of poets in a suffocating gothic atmosphere to ridicule the literary trends of his age?

    If such ideas came from someone who created their own powerful ideas, I don’t think it would be quite as bad. It is easy to mock the norm, but when you don’t propose an alternative such a thing is bland and weak. Look at Woolf. When she attacked the Victorians she certainly had her own ideas about where literature should go. The same is true for Oscar Wilde. When such greats provide critiques it is a fair divulgence of opinion. When Peacock does it, it’s just a little annoying. Not to mention parts of the work are purposely nonsensical.

    This isn’t something I’d recommend reading. Students of the Romantic era may find something of worth here, though I didn’t. I’m always a little touchy when someone mocks the habits of my favourite writers, arguably the strange habits that helped make them great.

  • Konstantin

    DNF at 40%. Rambly, pretentious and plotless, it's no more than a B-rate wannabe of a satire, with undistinguishable over-the-top caricatures and every paragraph spent on dialogues, some suprisingly reminiscent of each other. Not sure if there is a plot; if so, I must have missed it along the way. Dull and forgettable, not at all worth the time in my opinion (although it's just over 100 pages, so you thankfully don't loose a lot of it).

Best Free Books is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2018 Best Free Books - All rights reserved.