Thomas Love Peacock, Headlong Hall

James Mulvihill (University of Alberta)
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Thomas Love Peacock's first novel,

Headlong Hall

, sets the pattern for his other novels of talk. It features a country-house, the titular Headlong Hall, populated by a diverse set of characters, each embodying a particular intellectual obsession and each tirelessly advocating his or her ideas in the frequent debates on which the novel turns – debates that are often learned, sometimes absurd, but always spirited. Plot is rudimentary, frequently depending on slapstick relieved by a love interest or two, with marriage providing a comic resolution. While highly eclectic intellectually, the typical Peacock novel is unified by some idea that runs through the novel's debates.

Headlong Hall turns on the idea of progress, its mountainous Welsh setting providing a venerably historical backdrop

2369 words

Citation: Mulvihill, James. "Headlong Hall". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 June 2006 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=9865, accessed 05 March 2024.]

9865 Headlong Hall 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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