Peacock, Thomas Love

Peacock, Thomas Love, 1785–1866, English novelist and poet. He was employed by the East India Company from 1819 to 1856, serving as its chief examiner the final 20 years. Peacock's novels, comic and delightfully satirical, parody the intellectual modes and pretenses of his age. Nightmare Abbey (1818), his best-known work, satirizes the English romantic movement and contains characters based on Coleridge, Byron, and Shelley. Other novels include Headlong Hall (1816), Melincourt (1817), Maid Marian (1822), Crotchet Castle (1831), and Gryll Grange (1860). Peacock's best poems—lyrics and drinking songs—are interspersed in his novels. He was one of Shelley's most intimate friends, and after the famous poet's death Peacock was his literary executor.

See his works (ed. by H. F. B. Brett-Smith and C. E. Jones, 10 vol., 1924–34); biography by C. Van Doren (1911, repr. 1966); study by B. Burns (1985).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: English Literature, 19th cent.: Biographies