Thomas Love Peacock is the author of Nightmare Abbey, a gothic parody which uses as characters caricatures of Byron Mr. Cypress, Coleridge Mr. Flosky, and Shelley Scythrop Glowry, Shelley’s first wife, Harriet, Miss Marionetta Celestina O’Caroll and Mary Shelley the mysterious Celinda. Peacock's Melincourt satirized the Lake Poets, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey.

At the heart of Nightmare Abbey is Shelley's predeliction for love triangles. Here he is torn between the Harriet and Mary characters. However, he was involved in several such triangles. Two others involved Mary, one with her half-sister Fanny and the other with her step-sister Claire. Celinda's choice of Stella as an alias refers to Goëthe's heroine in The Sorrows of Young Werther, a tragedy built around a similar love triangle. Like Werther, Scythrop can't choose, he wants both women.

Godwin's Mandeville is lampooned in Nightmare Abbey as Devilman and summed up thus: Hatred--revenge--misanthropy--and quotations from the Bible.

Peacock's daughter, Mary Ellen, was married to the novelist George Meredith, but left him for the painter of The Death of Chatterton.

The title of Shelley's poem Alastor; or, the Spirit of Solitude was suggested by Peacock.


The Byron character is given these lines, Sir, I have quarrelled with my wife; and a man who has quarrelled with his wife is absolved from all duty to his country. I have written an ode to tell the people as much and they may take it as they list.
They alone are subject to blind authority who have no reliance on their own strength. A direct quote from Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Women, spoken by Celinda, the Mary Shelley character.


Gothic Labyrinth
Gothic Labyrinth