The plot of Nightmare Abbey revolves arourd the hero Scythrop Glowry's unwillingness to make up his mind which of two young women he is in love with. His character is modeled on Peacock's friend the Romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, who also happened to find himself involved with two women.
The plot, however, is only a convenience for Peacock to present a series of dialogues on a variety of themes currrent during the early part of the 19th century. Various characters present the point of view of some of the more famous people of the period. Among the topics they discuss are: novelty in literature, reason versus mysticism, transcendentalism, and ideal beauty. Often the dialogues are presented as they would be in a play.
This report prepared by Jack Goodstein