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Melmoth the Wanderer (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – August 1, 2008

3.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Chris Baldick is Professor of English at Goldsmiths' College, University of London. He edited 'The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales' (1992), and is the author of 'In Frankenstein's Shadow' (1987), 'Criticism and Literary Theory 1890 to the Present' (1996), and other works of literary history. He has
edited, with Rob Morrison, 'Tales of Terror from Blackwood's Magazine', and 'The Vampyre and Other Tales of the Macabre', and has written an introduction to Charles Maturin's 'Melmoth the Wanderer' (all available in the Oxford World's Classics series).
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (August 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199540292
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199540297
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 1.1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #762,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steven Davis on April 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
In 1816 a young man named John Melmoth is summoned from his studies in Dublin to attend to a dying uncle, a strange and reclusive being whom young John hardly knows, even though he is to be his heir. John soon senses that there is a dark secret surrounding his family, and his suspicions are heightened by the unexplained appearance--and equally sudden disappearance--of a mysterious and silent figure.

The uncle's dying bequest to John is the key to a closet, within which he is told is to be found a journal (which he would be better not to read) and a portrait (which he is advised to burn without so much as a glance). Naturally John looks at the portrait, and when he does he sees the image of the mysterious figure he has met on the grounds. But this painting is supposedly of his distant ancestor, 150 years dead! The journal gives further hints of a spectral and evil creature named Melmoth, but it is in such decay that John can extract nothing but fragments.

Barely has young Melmoth been allowed to think on these new discoveries when a fearsome storm deposits at his doorstep a shipwrecked Spaniard who, it turns out, knows enough of the story of the elder (and evidently immortal) Melmoth to fill the remainder of the novel.

Melmoth the Wanderer is a novel told in nested stories. Within the shipwrecked Spaniard's tale of his own encounter with Melmoth is that of Isidora, a Spanish maiden who was herself shipwrecked as a child and grew up entirely alone and innocent on a tropical island. And within Isidora's tale there are others, including that of an English family torn apart by the English Civil War. Melmoth figures in each of these stories, though not always as a central figure.
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Format: Paperback
I first read Melmoth the Wanderer in 1963, my senior year in high school. I reread it in 1984, and am now on my third reading of the novel. It has a complex structure of the story-within a story-within a story. But once the thematic elements are recognized, the novel becomes tightly bound and stirring from beginning to last. I will not discuss the plot; that is for the reader to experience. All I can say is that once I picked it up for this reading, I have not been able to put it down. If possible, get the University of Nebraska Press printing, as it has the clearest type and has a wonderful introduction by Axton. As I said, give the novel a chance; once you realize its underlying taut structure, you will be spellbound.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While I did enjoy this book, the best advice I can give is to be sure to read the introduction - it will prepare you for the rather dense writing ahead. This is a layered story, and it is sometimes to recall just where one is within it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book; good read.
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