The Godwinian Novel: The Rational Fictions of Godwin, Brockden Brown, Mary Shelley

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Overview


The Godwinian Novel is a pioneering analysis of the school of fiction inaugurated by William Godwin, and developed in the works of his principal followers, Charles Brockden Brown and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. In the first study of these authors as a historically specific group, Pamela Clemit argues for a greater unity between Godwin's fictional techniques and his radical political philosophy than has been perceived. Her analysis of the works of Brown and Mary Shelley, moreover, reveals how these writers modified, reshaped, and redefined Godwin's distinctive themes and techniques in response to shifting ideological pressures in the post-revolutionary period. Examining prose fiction in a period traditionally seen as dominated by poetry, Clemit stresses the necessity for a revised view of British Romanticism. Uncovering the links between Godwin's fictional analysis of subjective experience and his progressive political philosophy, The Godwinian Novel paves the way for a reappraisal of the apparently quietistic and introspective concerns of other writers of the period.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An intelligent, useful, and suggestive study for students of both American and British fiction of the early nineteenth century."--Nineteenth-Century Literature

"The question 'Was there a Godwin "school"?' is not the primary focus of this book, but one of the many virtues of Pamela Clemit's intelligent study is that we are, by the end, left in little doubt about the answer. This is a sure and useful book, unfussily written and admirably referenced. It is informative and convincing, and has a strong sense of literary form as well as an enviable grasp of the currents of thought over half a century. As such, Clemit makes a commendable contribution to our knowledge and understanding both of the Godwin circle and of the revolutionary period."--Modern Language Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198112204
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/1993
  • Series: Oxford English Monographs Series
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.63 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Conventions
Introduction 1
1 Imogen: Godwin's Fictional Debut 13
2 Caleb Williams: The Paradigm of the Godwinian Novel 35
3 Godwin's Historical Novels: Theory and Practice 70
4 Wieland: Charles Brockden Brown's American Tale 105
5 Frankenstein: Mary Shelley's Myth-Making 139
6 Mary Shelley's Novels of the 1820s: History and Prophecy 175
Afterword: Rereading the Godwinian Novel 211
Bibliography 220
Index 245
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