Tales of Wonder
  • Publication Date: November 13, 2009
  • ISBN: 9781551118352 / 1551118351
  • 300 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Tales of Wonder

  • Publication Date: November 13, 2009
  • ISBN: 9781551118352 / 1551118351
  • 300 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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

M.G. Lewis and Tales of Wonder: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

Tales of Wonder

  1. Bothwell’s Bonny Jane / M.G. Lewis
  2. Osric the Lion / M.G. Lewis
  3. Sir Hengist / M.G. Lewis
  4. Alonzo the Brave, and Fair Imogine / M.G. Lewis
  5. Giles Jollup the Grave, and Brown Sally Green / M.G. Lewis
  6. Elver’s Hoh / M.G. Lewis
  7. The Sword of Angantyr / M.G. Lewis
  8. King Hacho’s Death-Song / M.G. Lewis
  9. The Erl-King / M.G. Lewis
  10. The Erl-King’s Daughter / M.G. Lewis
  11. The Water-King / M.G. Lewis
  12. The Fire-King / Walter Scott
  13. The Cloud-King / M.G. Lewis
  14. The Fisherman / M.G. Lewis
  15. The Sailor’s Tale / M.G. Lewis
  16. The Princess and the Slave / M.G. Lewis
  17. The Gay Gold Ring / M.G. Lewis
  18. The Grim White Woman / M.G. Lewis
  19. The Little Grey Man / H. Bunbury
  20. Glenfinlas; or Lord Ronald’s Coronach / Walter
  21. The Eve of Saint John / Walter Scott
  22. Frederick and Alice / Walter Scott
  23. The Wild Huntsmen / Walter Scott
  24. The Old Woman of Berkeley / Robert Southey
  25. Bishop Bruno / Robert Southey
  26. Lord William / Robert Southey
  27. The Painter of Florence / Robert Southey
  28. Donica / Robert Southey
  29. Cornelius Agrippa’s Bloody Book / Robert
  30. Rudiger / Robert Southey
  31. The Elfin-King / John Leyden
  32. The Sorceress; or Wolfwold and Ulla / Mickle

Appendix A: A Selection of Poems from Volume II of Tales of Wonder

  1. LVI. Clerk Colvin
  2. LVII. Willy’s Lady
  3. LVIII. Courteous King Jamie
  4. LIX.Tam Lin
  5. LX. Lenora

Appendix B: Robert Southey and the Tales of Wonder

Appendix C: Selections from Tales of Terror (1801)

  1. I. Introductory Dialogue
  2. IV.The Wolf-King or Little Red-Riding-Hood. An Old Woman’s Tale
  3. X. The Grey Friar of Winton; or, the Death of King Rufus. An English Legend
  4. XI. Grim, King of Ghosts; or, the Dance of Death. A Church-Yard Tale
  5. XV. The Black Canon of Elmham; or, Saint Edmond’s Eve. An Old English Ballad
  6. XIX. The House upon the Heath. A Welsh Tale
  7. XX.The Mud-King; or, Smedley’s Ghost. A Tale of the Times

Appendix D: A Note on Scott’s Compilation An Apology for Tales of Terror (1799)

Appendix E: Critical Reception of Tales of Wonder and Tales of Terror

  1. British Critic (December 1801)
  2. Antijacobin Review (March 1801)
  3. Monthly Magazine (July 1801)
  4. Poetical Register (1801)
  5. Critical Review (January 1802)
  6. From George Gordon, Lord Byron, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809)

Select Bibliography and Works Cited

Douglass H. Thomson is Professor of English at Georgia Southern University.