In the late eighteenth century, Matthew Gregory “Monk” Lewis, a notorious author of lurid Gothic novels and plays, began to gather this collection of horror ballads. Including original and traditional works, translations and adaptations, and even burlesques of the Gothic, this “hobgoblin repast,” as Lewis called it, brings together a fascinating assortment of works. Contributors include Lewis, the young Walter Scott, William Taylor of Norwich, John Leyden, and Robert Southey.
Appendices contain selections from Tales of Terror (1801), a text long intertwined with Lewis’s collection; information on Scott’s An Apology for Tales of Terror (1799); and parodies and reviews of Lewis’s particular brand of Gothic poetry.
“Douglass H. Thomson’s excellent new edition makes Matthew Gregory Lewis’s long out-of-print Tales of Wonder (1801) available to scholars and students of Romanticism. The text is based on the first edition of the first volume of this important—and controversial—collection, and includes ballads by ‘Monk’ Lewis himself, as well as by Walter Scott and Robert Southey. It is accompanied by a detailed critical introduction and helpful notes. The generous appendices contain crucial contextual materials, including a Lewis chronology, extracts from the second volume of Tales of Wonder (nicknamed ‘Tales of Plunder’ by contemporaries) and a much misunderstood follow-up, Tales of Terror, plus a selection of contemporary reviews. This is an indispensable edition for anyone interested in the Gothic, generic complexity, seriousness and parody, nationalism, canons and their discontents, and literary marketplaces in the Romantic period.” — Lynda Pratt, University of Nottingham
“The rediscovery of Gothic fiction has been at the neglect of Gothic poetry. This richly annotated edition of the most important, eclectic, and entertaining anthology of Gothic balladry will help redress the balance. Thomson’s wide-ranging critical introduction shows how Tales of Wonder constantly crosses literary and critical boundaries, playfully blurring distinctions between the serious and the burlesque. This is an invaluable publication, not only for Gothicists but for all interested in the Ballad Revival, Anglo-German literary connections, and Romanticism’s ambiguous relationship with the Gothic.” — Paul Barnaby, Edinburgh University Library