'My hour is come ... the clock of eternity is about to strike, but its knell must be unheard by mortal ears!'
In a satanic bargain, Melmoth has sold his soul in exchange for immortality and now preys on the helpless in their darkest moments, offering to ease their suffering if they will take his place and release him from his tortured wanderings. His story is pieced together by those who glimpse his eerie existence over the centuries - from a prisoner held by the Inquisition to a man incarcerated in a London lunatic asylum.
Violent, allusive, profound and blackly humorous, Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) blended Gothic fiction and psychological realism, and was hugely influential for its baroque imagery and hallucinatory power.
Charles Robert Maturin
Penguin English Library