Thomas Love Peacock: The Misfortunes of Elphin

(1190 words)
  • James Mulvihill (University of Alberta)

Like Peacock’s other comic romance, Maid Marian (1822), The Misfortunes of Elphin recovers a picturesque past that serves as a foil to the present even as it reflects a number of contemporary concerns. Unlike Maid Marian, put together from legends and traditions taken from antiquarian sources, The Misfortunes of Elphin is more ambitiously conceived than Peacock’s medieval farce, even retaining some of the epic scope of its primitive provenance—albeit leavened with Peacock’s trademark humour and wit. In addition to learning the Welsh language (aided, no doubt, by his Welsh-speaking wife), Peacock possessed an extensive acquaintance with Welsh history and mythology, with the result that an …

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Mulvihill, James. "The Misfortunes of Elphin". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 April 2008
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]