y The Mystery of Major Molineux single work   novella   mystery   horror  
Issue Details: First known date: 1881 1881
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The Mystery of Major Molineux is a strange and weird production, evidently founded on a fact connected with the early history of Tasmania. As a psychological study it approaches in subtlety to some of the most successful efforts of the author of Adam Bede; while for intensity of sustained interest and soul-thrilling excitement it is only surpassed by Edgar Allen Poe in The Mystery of Marie Roget and The Murders in the Rue Morgue.

That the story is based upon fact does not detract from its interest, but rather lends an air of vraisemblance to a story which would otherwise be too appalling. It is an introspective study, a psychological romance, a social drama - worthy of the author of His Natural Life.'

[Source: Burra Record 22 June 1881, p.2]

Notes

  • The quotation published in the Burra Record (above) very likely originated from the novel's first publisher Cameron Laing. Evidence for this comes from a number of metropolitan and regional newspapers which published the same blurb, in most instances word for word, that same year. The only difference appears to be the concluding paragraph. An alternate ending, not used by the Burra Record, appears in most other newspapers in place of the Record's final statement:

    It is a remarkable narrative, and another instance of the fact that 'truth' is stranger than fiction.' The author of The Raven in his wildest flights of fancy was not more absorbing (Border Watch 2 July 1881, p.1).

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1881
Serialised by: Tuapeka Times 1868 newspaper (12 issues)
Notes:
Published in serialised format by the Tuapeka Times in 1881.
  • Appears in:
    y The Mystery of Major Molineux / Human Repetends Marcus Clarke , Melbourne : Cameron, Laing , 1881 Z460138 1881 selected work short story novella

    'The Mystery of Major Molineux is a strange and weird production, evidently founded on a fact connected with the early history of Tasmania. As a psychological study it approaches in subtlety to some of the most successful efforts of the author of Adam Bede; while for intensity of sustained interest and soul-thrilling excitement it is only surpassed by Edgar Allen Poe in The Mystery of Marie Roget and The Murders in the Rue Morgue.

    That the story is based upon fact does not detract from its interest, but rather lends an air of resemblance to a story which would otherwise be too appalling. It is an introspective study, a psychological romance, a social drama - worthy of the author of His Natural Life.'

    [Source: Burra Record 22 June 1881, p.2]

    Melbourne : Cameron, Laing , 1881
    pg. 7-66
  • Appears in:
    y The Anthology of Colonial Australian Gothic Fiction Ken Gelder (editor), Rachael Weaver (editor), Carlton : Melbourne University Press , 2007 Z1415120 2007 anthology short story extract horror mystery science fiction historical fiction children's (taught in 7 units) Carlton : Melbourne University Press , 2007 pg. 45-86
  • Appears in:
    y Australian Ghost Stories James Doig (editor), Ware : Wordsworth Editions , 2010 Z1692736 2010 anthology short story horror 'Murderous ghosts, horrific curses and monstrous beings haunt an unforgiving landscape into which travellers stray at their peril. Journey through the dark byways of Australia's Gothic past in the rare stories gathered in this memorable new collection. Work by acclaimed Australian writers such as Marcus Clarke, Henry Lawson and Edward Dyson appears alongside many lesser-known authors such as Beatrice Grimshaw, Mary Fortune and Ernest Favenc. Many of the stories collected here have never been reprinted since their first publication in 19th and early 20th century periodicals and showcase the richness and variety of the Australian ghost and horror story.

    James Doig provides an authoritative introduction full of fresh insights into Australian Gothic fiction with detailed biographical notes on the authors represented' (cover).
    Ware : Wordsworth Editions , 2010

Works about this Work

Marcus Clarke, Gothic, Romance David Matthews , 2005-2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: Medievalism and the Gothic in Australian Culture 2006; (p. 3-17)
David Matthews examines the production of the Gothic in the fiction of Marcus Clarke.
Colonial Gothic : Morbid Anatomy, Commodification and Critique in Marcus Clarke's 'The Mystery of Major Molineux' Andrew McCann , 2000 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , October vol. 19 no. 4 2000; (p. 399-412)
Marcus Clarke, Gothic, Romance David Matthews , 2005-2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: Medievalism and the Gothic in Australian Culture 2006; (p. 3-17)
David Matthews examines the production of the Gothic in the fiction of Marcus Clarke.
Colonial Gothic : Morbid Anatomy, Commodification and Critique in Marcus Clarke's 'The Mystery of Major Molineux' Andrew McCann , 2000 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , October vol. 19 no. 4 2000; (p. 399-412)
Last amended 28 Mar 2013 09:28:52
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