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Headlong Hall

Thomas Love Peacock

Book Overview: 

Headlong Hall is the first novel by Thomas Love Peacock. As in his later novel Crotchet Castle, Peacock assembles a group of eccentrics, each with a single monomaniacal obsession, and derives humor and social satire from their various interactions and conversations. The setting is the country estate of Squire Harry Headlong Ap-Rhaiader, Esq. in Wales. (Summary by Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .harmonies of light and shade, melting into one another, as you see them on that rock over yonder. I never saw one of your improved places, as you call them, and which are nothing but big bowling-greens, like sheets of green paper, with a parcel of round clumps scattered over them, like so many spots of ink, flicked at random out of a pen,[4.1] and a solitary animal here and there looking as if it were lost, that I did not think it was for all the world like Hounslow Heath, thinly sprinkled over with bushes and highwaymen.”

“Sir,” said Mr Milestone, “you will have the goodness to make a distinction between the picturesque and the beautiful.”

“Will I?” said Sir Patrick, “och! but I won't. For what is beautiful? That what pleases the eye. And what pleases the eye? Tints variously broken and blended. Now, tints variously broken and blended constitute the picturesque.”Read More

Community Reviews

Whereas Nightmare Abbey is Augustan - worthy of Pope - attack the follies of mankind by singling out real examples, this first novel is generic. It is filled with comical character types. Headlong Hall is Shakesperean pastoral and the novel, like As You Like It, rounds off with four marriages, a ha

So that was quite enjoyable - if partly because of its brevity. A witty satire on the latest society intellectuals and the pretensions of a Welsh country squire / landowner wanting to fill his house with wit, brains and discussion and only succeeds in bringing together fragile egos, quackery, pseuds

Came across this on the interesting Guardian 1000 list and very glad I did. Not having read the author before this was different to what I was expecting. For an 86 pages novella it's quite an entertaining read. The story revolves around Squire Harry Headlong who invites the "Intelligentsia" of the d

I read this because it was mentioned in The Moving Toyshop, which I loved, so I was curious. This was written in 1815 and I was floored by how the opinions variously expressed seemed to be very modern and the humor was still funny almost 200 years later. The language is difficult but I think that wa

I had never heard of this author, until his name popped up on the Guardian's list of 1000 novels everyone must read. I enjoyed it more than not--there were a couple of places I laughed out loud, but it was a little too jokey for me. Short though.

A satirical, and sometimes even slapstick, look at th

A bit of literary nonsense from the early 19th century by English writer Thomas Love Peacock. Now you wouldn't expect someone with a name like that to write something serious would you?

From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Winter, 1815: Harry Headlong, like all Welsh squires, is fond of shooting, hunting and drinking. But he becomes seized with a passion to form the acquaintance of philosophers and dilettanti.

Narrated by Sir Michael Hordern. Starring Daniel Massey as Escot, Ronald Lacey as Foste

In the first of Peacock’s books (published in 1815), an intellectually curious Welsh aristocrat hosts a holiday gathering with a guest list including a progressivist, a deteriorationist, a phrenologist, a landscape designer, a lady novelist, and others. If not quite as successful as Peacock’s more f

Headlong Hall was the first of Thomas Love Peacock's novels and the simplest. I suppose it was intended as satire, but there is no longer any way of identifying who the characters represent among Peacock's contemporaries, except where he specifies in the notes. Happily, it works as comedy, even if i

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