Caleb Williams

Caleb Williams


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The reputation of WILLIAM GODWIN as a social philosopher, and the merits of his famous novel, "Caleb Williams," have been for more than a century the subject of extreme divergencies of judgment among critics. "The first systematic anarchist," as he is called by Professor Saintsbury, aroused bitter contention with his writings during his own lifetime, and his opponents have remained so prejudiced that even the staid bibliographer Allibone, in his "Dictionary of English Literature," a place where one would think the most flagitious author safe from animosity, speaks of Godwin's private life in terms that are little less than scurrilous. Over against this persistent acrimony may be put the fine eulogy of Mr. C. Kegan Paul, his biographer, to represent the favourable judgment of our own time, whilst I will venture to quote one remarkable passage that voices the opinions of many among Godwin's most eminent contemporaries.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780141441238
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/30/2005
Series: Penguin Classics
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 527,854
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.82(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Gary Handwerk is a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Washington.

The late A.A. Markley was 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.

Table of Contents

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 Essay, “Of History and Romance” (1797)

Appendix B: The Foundations of the Novel: Godwin’s Political Philosophy and England in the 1790s

  1. Select British Responses to the French Revolution
    1. From Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
    2. 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. From the Account 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 Alemán, Guzmán de Alfarache (1599)
  2. From The History of Mile, de St. 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

  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 Edward and John Philips,” 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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