Headlong Hall

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Kessinger Publishing, Jun 1, 2004 - Fiction - 84 pages
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The place is quite a wilderness, said Squire Headlong: "for, during the latter part of my father's life, while I was finishing my education, he troubled himself about nothing but the cellar, and suffered everything else to go to rack and ruin. A mere wilderness, as you see, even now in December; but in summer a complete nursery of briers, a forest of thistles, a plantation of nettles, without any livestock but goats, that have eaten up all the bark of the trees. Here you see is the pedestal of a statue, with only half a leg and four toes remaining: there were many here once.

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About the author (2004)

The witty, erudite, quirky Peacock, renowned for his range of knowledge, was largely self-educated. While working at the East India Company as a clerk to support his invalid wife and children, he mastered Greek, Latin, Italian, French, and Welsh. In his youth he associated with a number of free-thinking intellectuals, including Shelley (who called him "Greeky Peaky" for his fondness of ancient Greek literature), Jeremy Bentham, and John Stuart Mill. Peacock's daughter married and later abandoned George Meredith, who expressed his anguish in the sonnet sequence Modern Love (1862) and his novels The Ordeal of Richard Feverel (1859) and The Egoist (1879). Peacock's own fiction parodied the fashionable excesses of taste for the supernatural, medieval, melancholy, and sensibility that appeared in the popular novels, poetry, and melodramas. He also parodied the writers themselves for their eccentricities and attitudinizing. In a series of novels written over a long creative life (he died at age 81), with titles caricaturing the fashion for castles and abbeys---Headlong Hall (1816), Melincourt (1817), Nightmare Abbey (1818), Crotchet Castle (1831), and Gryll Grange (1861), Peacock tried to show that the proper function of literature, as he said in Nightmare Abbey, was "to reconcile man as he is to the world as it is.

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