"Melmoth the Wanderer" is a novel written by Charles Robert Maturin, published in 1820 and considered the last of the classic English gothic romances. Influenced by the Gothic romances of the late 18th century, Maturin's diabolic tale raised the genre to a new and macabre pitch.
The book was especially admired in France, notably by Charles Baudelaire. Honoré de Balzac wrote an ironic sequel in 1835, "Melmoth Reconciled". Oscar Wilde, in exile, chose "Sebastian Melmoth" as his pseudonym.
The novel's titular character is a scholar who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for 150 extra years of life, and searches the world for someone who will take over the pact for him, in a manner reminiscent of the Wandering Jew.
The novel is composed of a series of nested stories-within-stories, gradually revealing the story of Melmoth's life. The novel offers social commentary on early-19th-century England, and denounces Roman Catholicism in favour of the virtues of Protestantism.