Tales of Wonder: Volume 2
By Matthew Gregory Lewis
Never reprinted in its original form since 1805, and never before presented in a complete annotated, scholarly edition, Tales of Wonder is a landmark in the study of Gothic literature and Romantic poetry. In Volume II we find Ben Jonson's song for 13 witches, a clutch of famous Scottish ghost ballads, a journey to an Irish cave that opens into Purgatory, a Russian prince's date with Death after 300 years of bliss in the Land of Felicity, the dangers of lingering at the fairy Tam Lin's well, the mysterious death of King Arthur, and the most terrifying horseback ride in all literature, "Lenora."
Information about the poets, source texts and alternate versions enrich the reader‚s experience of these thrilling Gothic narratives in verse. This annotated edition traces the literary origins of the poems and the stories behind them, connecting them to the long line of eccentric antiquarian scholars who collected classical, Runic, English and Scottish manuscripts or folk material. The poems here also reveal the late-18th century British project of constructing a pagan pre-history for England, building a poetic connection to Nordic legends and bringing Wotan/Odin and the gods, monsters and fairies of the forest into competition with Biblical and Greco-Roman lore. For the poetry lover, and the fan of supernatural literature, this collection offers another attraction: a year-round Halloween treat of entertaining and alarming poems to read aloud, bedtime stories for very bad children.