Peter Ackroyd: Chatterton

(1268 words)

The historiographic metafictional novel Chatterton intertwines stories about writers and artists over three centuries (Onega 1998, 34). Two historical incidents form the starting point of the novel: the poet Chatterton’s mysterious death at the age of seventeen in 1770 and George Wallis’s famous painting of this scene in 1856. Imitating the style of medieval manuscripts, Chatterton had written a sequence of poems which caused a stir in literary circles because he published them as the authentic writings by the medieval monk ‘Rowley’. His subsequent hopes for a literary career failed to materialize, and one morning he was found dead in his attic room. Playing with the historiographic construction of the past and the …

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Meyer, Michael. "Chatterton". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 August 2013
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Metafictional Writing
  2. Postmodernist British Fiction