One of the features of the composition of the novel is the so-called “framework narrative”. The general plot canvas serves as a frame for numerous false novels. However, in the novel of Maturin, the attentive reader will catch the absolute sequence of the general plot, in which the author does not for one moment lose the thread of the through story and the through design.
The action begins in the autumn of 1816 in Ireland, in the county where the student of the Dublin Trinity College, John Melmoth, comes to visit his dying uncle, or, more simply, to take possession of his estate. The uncle dies, however, in addition to purely practical points, two more properties are mystical: the first is to destroy the portrait hanging in the office with the signature “J. Melmoth, 1646”; the second is to find and burn the manuscript stored in one of the bureaus of the bureau. This is the first time John Melmoth faces his legendary ancestor, nicknamed the Melmoth wanderer. Of course, here is a paraphrase on the subject of Agasphere, the “eternal Jew,” and the motif of the “Sevil seducer” of Don Juan, and the Melmoth wanderer could be called the “Irish tempter”, for it is precisely the temptation, which he will offer to people who met him on the road, to people whom his destiny will reduce, and all the subjects of the novel are devoted. Meteorin, as it were, “combined” within the framework of one hero, Faust and Mephistopheles.
So, the young Melmoth finds and reads the manuscript belonging, as it turns out, to some Englishman, Stanton, the first of the heroes of the novel, who met on his way a strange and formidable Demon Melmoth wanderer. And after reading in the silence of his uncle’s office the painful and passionate confession of Stanton, John tears off the portrait of his ancestor from the wall and, tearing it to shreds, throws it into the fire. But at night he comes to him with the words: “Well, you burned me, only such a fire does not have the power to destroy me.” I’m alive, I’m here, beside you. ” A terrible storm falls on Melmoth’s house, standing on the shore above the precipice to the sea. In this storm Melmoth is again his demonic ancestor. Sinking in the waves of Melmoth is rescued by the Spaniard of Monsad. The next morning he tells him his story – this is the first plug-in novella “The Story of the Spaniard”. The story of his stay in the monastery, where they wanted to make him a monk. His resistance to this, his persecution of the monastic brotherhood. Here much is mixed and connected: mysterious wanderings through the monastery cellars in search of salvation; angry invectives directed against the pharisaism and satanic cruelty of the Church and the Inquisition; a terrible image of a monk-patricide, becoming secret informant of the Inquisition; the boundless loneliness of the hero – Spaniard Alonso Monsad, compelled to fight one on one “with those snakes that… are conceived by the loneliness of a man… and every hour they are born in his heart”; the story of the immured lovers is a tribute to Matyurin’s tradition of “horror literature”, from which the blood runs cold; and much more. But above all this – the phenomenon of the Tempter – first in the monastery, then in the prison of the Inquisition. A man for whom there are no constipations or prohibitions. A man telling about his meetings with historical personalities who lived in the last century… The hero, taking advantage of the fire that swept the prison, runs. He enters the house where the family of the baptized Jew, Don Fernand de Nunez, lives, then runs and from there, end up in the dungeon, where he is found by the elder, the Jew Adonijah. Feeding and watering the fugitive, after listening to his story, Adonius suggests that he become a scribe. Adonijus, who has his own fatal mystery in the past, who is also able to see both past and future, shows Alonso a manuscript containing “the history of those whose fates are now connected with your – a marvelous chain, invisible and inseparable.” This story is “a tale of Indian islanders.” The love story of a wandering Melmoth, the only love in his whole life – to a girl from a remote island, naive, simple-minded and beautiful. If in the history of the Spaniard Alonso the paraphrase of the story of Diderot “The Nun” is read, then Voltaire Huron, his “simple-hearted”, is undoubtedly in the image of Imma. On the island where she lives in complete solitude, a person appears, whom the author calls “a stranger”. He tells Immali about distant countries, about cities… The tempter is and simple-minded. But he leaves her “on the water.” Again – a combination within one image: the blasphemer and the God-seeker, Faust and Mephistopheles, Christ and Satan. The combination, of course, from the standpoint of all orthodoxy, blasphemous, the manifestation of unprecedented free-thinking. In the manuscript, suddenly, briefly, there is a reference to Stanton – tying together all the plots, combining in the “single chain” the history of all the Melmoth wanderer’s artifacts into a certain image of one great Iskus, unnamed. As Monsad says, “we are all just beads of beads threaded on the same thread.” The art of returning to Immali Melmoth – in his stories about the civilized world, in those pictures of the monstrous immorality that reigns in him. Wild Immali – he fell in love! It’s you that taught me to think, feel, cry. ” Before meeting with Melmoth, she did not know this. There is their betrothal – without witnesses, only wild nature and moonlight. After that, Melmoth disappears. He never came to this island again. we are all just beads of beads threaded on the same thread. “The art of returning to Immali Melmoth is in his stories about the civilized world, in those pictures of the monstrous immorality that reigns in him.” Wild Emmali – he fell in love! “You! You taught me to think, feel, cry. “Before meeting with Melmoth, she did not know anything about them, they are engaged in betrothal – without witnesses, only wildlife and moonlight. After that, Melmoth disappears.” He never came to this island again. we are all just beads of beads threaded on the same thread. “The art of returning to Immali Melmoth is in his stories about the civilized world, in those pictures of the monstrous immorality that reigns in... him.” Wild Emmali – he fell in love! “You! You taught me to think, feel, cry. “Before meeting with Melmoth, she did not know anything about them, they are engaged in betrothal – without witnesses, only wildlife and moonlight. After that, Melmoth disappears.” He never came to this island again. Before meeting with Melmoth, she did not know this. There is their betrothal – without witnesses, only wild nature and moonlight. After that, Melmoth disappears. He never came to this island again. Before meeting with Melmoth, she did not know this. There is their betrothal – without witnesses, only wild nature and moonlight. After that, Melmoth disappears. He never came to this island again.
Three years passed, and we meet with Immali in Spain, under the name of Isidora, the daughter of a rich merchant and merchant Don Francisco de Alyaga. But one night, in the light of the moon, Melmoth is again her. “A sad demon, a spirit of exile,” he says to his beloved: “I am instructed to trample down and blossom all the flowers that blossom on earth as well as in the human soul… everything that comes in my way.” Melmoth thus acquires the features of a doomed and wandering wanderer, tormentor and martyr at the same time. Satan and Savior in one person. Disappointed and satiated, he knew the mystery of life and death, the nothingness of the human race and the vanity of everything that exists, and, as a result of this knowledge, rose above the world. Matyurin of Melmoth: “For him there could not have been a greater miracle in the world than his own life, and that lightness,
The next chapter finds us at the inn, where Don Francisco, Isidora’s father, spent the night on his way home. He meets a stranger there who reads a certain manuscript: “A Tale of the Guzman’s Family”. The history of the tragedy of one family, its rise and fall, wealth and poverty. At the most terrible hour before the father of the Wahlberg family is the tempter, “Enemy of the human race,” and “his eyes are so brilliant that people can not bear.” But salvation comes unexpectedly from the other side, and Valberg, even at the price of starving to death of his children, overcomes. The story is over. Don Francisco sinks into a dream, and, having awakened, discovers a man in the room. “Strange guest” shows an unexpected knowledge of the fate of Valberg and his family, although he was not in the room at the time of reading the manuscript. And saying goodbye, he says: ” We’ll see you this evening. “That’s what’s happening: Don Francisco meets a mysterious stranger on his way, hiding in a secluded tavern from the bad weather, they stay together, and the” strange visitor “offers the merchant his story:” A Tale of Two Lovers. ” This time the action takes place in England, the era of the Stuart Restoration, the second half of the 17th century The ancient kind of Mortimer from Shropshire, the legends of the glorious past, the service to the royal house, the love of the surviving descendants of Sir Roger Mortimer, cousin and sister: John Sandel is a warrior, a hero, an angelic youth, and a beautiful Elinor, the story of their tragedy, their wedding, their separation, and again the meeting when John is already insane and Elinor is his nurse. They are very poor. , telling Don Francisco this story, suddenly arises in his narrative: “It was at this time… I happened to get acquainted with… I wanted to say, it was at this time a certain visitor who settled near the village where Elinor lived, several times met them both… “The skill is not expressed again in words, only the priest who appeared a little later,” immediately realized how terrible was their conversation. ” However, the priest then tells Elinor that in the person talking to him he recognized the “Irishman named Melmoth,” whom he had once known to whom he had ceased to meet, realizing that “this is a man devoting himself to diabolical deception, that he is in the power of the Enemy the human race “; some time ago he himself witnessed his death and before he died he told him: ” I am guilty of the great angelic sin: I was proud and imagined too much about the power of my mind! It was the first mortal sin – an unlimited desire for forbidden knowledge! “And now – this man is alive…
But then the stranger begins to tell Don Francisco… his own story, warning: “… do not lose a minute, hurry to save your daughter!” But the merchant did not hurry… The story of Isidore completes the narrative. Nobody knows that she became the “secret wife” of Melmoth. No one knows that she is expecting a baby. And now her father and groom arrive. During the ball Melmoth makes an attempt to escape. In vain. On their way stands the brother of Isidora. After killing him, Melmoth runs alone, cursing those who witness this scene. The fate of Isidora is terrible. She has a daughter, but “the wife of the sorcerer and their damned offspring” is transferred “into the hands of the merciful and holy court of the Inquisition.” The verdict is separation from the daughter. At night, in the cell, the girl dies. On his deathbed, Isidora tells the priest that Melmoth was with her at night.
On this the Spaniard Monsad ends his story. And here before him and John Melmoth the hero himself arises, Wanderer: “Your ancestor has returned home… his wanderings are over! .. I carry away the secret of my destiny… I sowed fear on the ground, but – not evil. people could not be forced to share my fate, it was necessary his consent – and none of them agreed not to give… No creature exchanged fate with the wanderer Melmoth. I went around the world and did not find a single person who, for the sake of in order to possess this world, would agree to ruin his soul. No Sten-son in a house for the insane, neither you, Monsad, in the prison of the Inquisition, nor Valberg, in front of whom his children were dying of hunger, no one else… “
Melmoth sees a prophetic dream of his death. The next day only a handkerchief that he wore around his neck was found on the top of a cliff to which his tracks led. “That was all that was left of him on earth!”