New Criticism of Death’s Jest-Book

Alan Halsey’s The Ghost of a Skeleton Key has been added to the Criticism page of the website. The Ghost of a Skeleton Key presents a reading of Death’s Jest-Book’s alchemical and largely Paracelsian themes, arguing that its structure depends more upon an ‘as above so below’ schema than conventional narrative or plot. The argument draws on alchemical practice, mandrake lore, Erasmus Darwin’s poems, the anatomy debate, artificial creatures in fiction and political theory, the ‘last man’ in Romantic writing and Beddoes’ prefiguration of the Theatre of Cruelty.

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