Charles Robert Maturin, known in his day as the Fuseli of novelists, is the author of Melmoth the Wanderer, possibly influenced by tales of Count Cagliostro.

Sir Walter Scott, wrote favourably of Maturin's first novel (The Fatal Revenge, or the Family of Montorio), predicting that the author had potential to astonish the public. Coleridge called Montorio a novel of no small reputation in the bold and terrific line. The grateful Maturin initiated a correspondence with Scott who, with the help of his friend Byron, assisted Maturin to mount his play Bertram; or, the Castle of St. Aldobrand at Drury Lane. A production of King Lear had been withdrawn due to George III’s madness.

Melmoth bears traces of Lewis and Radcliffe, and was an influence on Bulwer-Lytton, and Sheridan Le Fanu (particularly Schalken the Painter), among others. Balzac wrote a sequel to it, Melmoth Réconcilié.

Maturin's great-nephew, Oscar Wilde, took the name Sebastian Melmoth when in exile in Paris, after his release from prison. It has been suggested that Melmoth's incommunicable condition is analogous to the nameless crime of which Wilde was accused.

Maturin's The Milesian Chief is said to have inspired Scott's The Bride of Lammermoor. So completely was Scott under the influence of opium at that time, he could not remember writing any of it.

Gothic Labyrinth
Gothic Labyrinth