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Caleb Williams

Overview

When young Caleb Williams comes to work as a secretary for Squire Falkland, he soon begins to suspect that his master is hiding a terrible secret. His unearthing of the guilty truth proves calamitous when - despite Caleb loyally swearing never to reveal his discovery - the Squire enacts a cruel revenge. A tale suspense and psychological power, William Godwin's novel creates a depiction of the intolerable persecution meted out to a good man in pursuit of justice and equality. Written to expose the political ...
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Overview

When young Caleb Williams comes to work as a secretary for Squire Falkland, he soon begins to suspect that his master is hiding a terrible secret. His unearthing of the guilty truth proves calamitous when - despite Caleb loyally swearing never to reveal his discovery - the Squire enacts a cruel revenge. A tale suspense and psychological power, William Godwin's novel creates a depiction of the intolerable persecution meted out to a good man in pursuit of justice and equality. Written to expose the political oppression and corrupt hierarchies its author saw in the world around him, Caleb Williams (1794) embodies a radical appeal to end the abuses of power while simultaneously exploring the complexities of that endeavour.

A gothic novel of injustice and oppression that emobdies Godwin's radical theories of political and social reform for 18th century Britain.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The originality of Caleb Williams will be obvious to the student or general reader who encounters it in this exemplary addition to the Broadview [Editions] series. The editors provide a clear, thorough introduction that places the novel in its political, philosophical, and literary contexts, as well as a chronology and bibliography. Six appendices serve up generous helpings of the fruits of recent scholarship that illuminate the fiction's relation to things as they were. Providing glimpses of Godwin at work, samples of ardent political discourse of the 1790s, and snippets of narrative by Holcroft, Wollstonecraft, Richardson, Defoe, and less well-known writers, the supplementary materials are fascinating in themselves." - Rachel M. Brownstein, The Graduate School and University Center, CUNY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780141441238
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/30/2005
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 540,081
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 7.83 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Handwerk is a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Washington.
A.A. Markley is an Assistant Professor of English at Penn State University, Delaware County. Both have written extensively on Romantic literature, and have edited the Broadview edition of Godwin's Fleetwood.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
William Godwin: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text
Preface to the 1794 Edition
Caleb Williams
Appendix A: The Composition of the Novel
1. The Original Manuscript Ending of the Novel
2. Godwin’s Account of the Composition of the Novel from the Preface to the 1832 “Standard Novels” Edition of Fleetwood
3. Godwin’s Account of the Novel’s Aims, from The British Critic (July 1795)
4. Godwin’s Unpublished Essay, “Of History and Romance” (1797)
Appendix B: The Foundations of the Novel: Godwin’s Political Philosophy and England in the 1790s
1. Selected British Responses to the French Revolution a. From Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
b. From Thomas Paine, Rights of Man (1791)
2. From William Godwin, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793)
3. From William Godwin, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1796)
4. From Godwin’s Correspondence
Appendix C: Criminal Lives and The State of the Prisons
1. Excerpts from the records of Jack Sheppard in The Malefactor’s Register; or the Newgate Calendar (1779)
2. From John Howard, The State of the Prisons (1777)
Appendix D: Literary Influences: Crime and Pursuit Narratives and Scenes of Confrontation
1. From Mateo Aléman, Guzmán de Alfarache (1599)
2. From The History of Mlle. de Saint Phale (1691)
3. From Daniel Defoe, Colonel Jack (1722)
4. From Samuel Richardson, Pamela (1740-41)
5. From Thomas Holcroft, Anna St. Ives (1792)
Appendix E: The Influence of Caleb Williams
1. From George Colman, The Iron Chest (1796)
2. From Mary Wollstonecraft, The Wrongs of Woman, Or Maria (1798)
Appendix F: Contemporary Reviews of the Novel
1. From the Critical Review (July 1794)
2. From the British Critic (July 1794)
3. From the British Critic (April 1795)
4. From the Monthly Review (September 1794)
5. From the Analytical Review (January 1795)
6. From James Mackintosh, “Review of Godwin’s Lives of the Philipses” Edinburgh Review (October 1815)
7. From William Hazlitt, The Spirit of the Age (1825)
8. Review of the 1831 edition of Caleb Williams, New Monthly Magazine (May 1831)
Works Cited/Recommended Reading

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