MATURIN, Charles R(obert)
   Irish novelist, playwright and clergyman, the son of French Protestants in exile, who wrote several GOTHIC romances and sensational plays with intermittent success - most notably The Fatal Revenge, or The Family of Montorio (1807) as by Dennis Jasper Murphy-before thepublication of his definitive terror-romance, Melmoth the Wanderer (1820). The eponymous hero, who is reminiscent of figures from the Wandering Jewto Faust, has sold his soul to the Devil in return for IMMORTALITY. The novel is made up of a series of complexly linked stories concerning people in various extremities to whom Melmoth appears as tempter in his desperate attempts to find someone to accept his curse; but all refuse him, regardless of the perils under which they labour, and after a century or so Melmoth returns to Ireland, where he disappears over the edge of a cliff. Honore de BALZAC wrote a sequel, "Melmoth Reconcile" (1835; trans in coll The Unknown Masterpiece 1896 UK). The Penguin edition of CRM's novel (1977), ed and introduced by Alethea Hayter, is convenient and scholarly.
   Other work: The Albigenses (1824).
   About the author: Charles Robert Maturin: His Life and Works (1923) by Niilo Idman.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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