“The romantic will love to shudder at Udolpho; but those of mature age, who know what human nature is, will take up again and again Dr. Moore’s Zeluco.” — Anna Lætitia Barbauld
One of the most irredeemably evil characters in all of literature finally returns to print in the first edition of this classic novel since 1827. When Zeluco first appeared in 1789, it was hailed as an instant classic, and its author, Scottish physician John Moore, was ranked with Richardson, Smollett, and Fielding as one of the finest novelists of the eighteenth century. Influential on such writers as Burns and Byron, and selected by Anna Lætitia Barbauld in 1810 for her series of the best British novels, Zeluco mysteriously fell out of print and has remained unobtainable since.
Zeluco charts the career of a wicked Sicilian aristocrat who causes death and ruin to all those around him before finally meeting a horrible fate. But Zeluco is much more than an early Gothic novel featuring a monomaniacal tyrant: it is a rich panorama of life in the late eighteenth century, dealing with English and European manners and hot topics of the day, such as the abolition of slavery. Readers will be thrilled to discover this surprisingly humorous—and eminently readable—lost masterpiece in an excellent new edition by Pam Perkins. This edition features a substantial new introduction, thorough explanatory notes, and appendices containing excerpts from contemporary reactions to the novel and Moore’s celebrated travel writings.