Ferdinando Eboli

Mary Shelley, "Ferdinando Eboli," <i>The Keepsake for 1829</i>, p. 214b (detail). University of Victoria Libraries Special Collections. Call number: PR1133 K44 1829. Image by Caroline Winter, taken on 7 Dec. 2017.

In "Ferdinando Eboli," Eboli is an Italian count who, while fighting in the Napoleonic Wars, is abducted and robbed. When he rejoins his regiment, he discovers that an imposter has stolen his identity. Eboli repeatedly tries to expose the imposter, but he looks and acts so like Eboli that even his fiancée Adalinda is deceived. When Adalinda realizes the truth and confronts the impostor, she is imprisoned, but manages to escape. Eventually, the imposter is revealed to be Eboli's illegitimate older brother, Ludovico, who is trying to usurp his brother's status and family fortune.

The illustration accompanying "Ferdinando Eboli" depicts Adalinda dressed as a page in order to escape her captors.

"Ferdinando Eboli," like Frankenstein and "The Mortal Immortal," engates with the Gothic motif of the double or doppelgänger. Although Ludovico is not a supernatural double, his resemblance to his brother is uncanny. Other Gothic motifs include usurpation, abduction, and the threat of sexual violence.

For more information about the tale, visit its Wikipedia page.

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Ferdinando Eboli



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1808–1815 (reign of Joachim Murat as King of Naples)

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