Maturin, Charles Robert (1780–1824)
Charles Robert Maturin was born in Dublin, into a well-to-do family of French Huguenot origin; he was educated at Trinity College. In 1803 he was ordained in the Anglican Church of Ireland. He married Henrietta Kingsbury and served as curate of St Peter’s, Dublin, from 1805 until the end of his life. His first novel, The Fatal Revenge; or, The Family of Montorio (1807), was praised by Walter Scott in the Quarterly Review (1810), which marked the beginning of a long correspondence and a real literary friendship between the two men. The Wild Irish Boy (1808), written in imitation of Lady Morgan’s The Wild Irish Girl (1806), was, like The Fatal Revenge, published at the author’s own expense. Financial difficulties began in 1809 when his father lost his position in the Irish Post Office. Being ‘a high calvinist in [his] religious opinion’ (letter to Scott, Jan 1813), a man of eccentric behaviour and an author of fiction, Maturin was denied preferment by his Arminian superiors. He opened a school to prepare students for Trinity College, and needed to write for money. The Milesian Chief (1812) brought him £80, and his first play, Bertram (1816), was a success at Drury Lane, where Kean played the title role. Unfortunately most of the money went to the creditor of a person for whom he had acted as guarantor.
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