THINGS AS THEY ARE: OR, THE ADVENTURES OF CALEB WILLIAMS. Philadelphia: Printed for H. and P. Rice, No. 50, Market-Street, and Sold by J. Rice and Co. Baltimore, 1795. 12mo, two volumes: pp. [1-2]  2-228; [1-5] 6-224, both half-title leaves present, recently rebound to style in full leather, spine panels tooled in gold, brown leather spine title pieces. First U.S. edition. A landmark early novel that stands at the intersection of several genres. It is the first detective novel, chronicling the dogged investigative efforts (and consequent suffering) of an employee of an aristocratic English murderer. It is a Gothic, and probably the first one to transplant the essential mood of Gothicism (bondage, oppression, imprisonment) to contemporary events that are stripped of the usual outer accouterments of the genre. It is a novel of ideas, not surprisingly, given the stature of its author, a leading radical theorist of the day, husband of the "first feminist" Mary Wollstonecraft, friend of Percy Shelley, father of Mary Shelley. It is moreover a rousing adventure novel, a story of pursuits and escapes. It has also been called the first psychological novel, revealing its author's "fascination by the entanglement of human motives." (McCracken, Introduction to Norton edition, p. vii). An early critic, William Hazlitt, proclaimed, "... no one ever began CALEB WILLIAMS that did not read it through; no one that ever read it could possibly forget it, or speak of it after any length of time but with an impression as if the events and feelings had been personal to himself." (ibid.). One of the cornerstones of popular fiction. See Birkhead, "Godwin and the Rosicrucian Novel" in her The Tale of Terror, pp. 100-127. Barron (ed), Horror Literature 1-32. Block, The English Novel 1740-1850, p. 85. Clute and Grant (eds), The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, p. 416. Jones and Newman (eds), Horror: 100 Best Books, no. 4. Birkhead, The Tale of Terror, esp. pp. 86-93. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature, p. 38. Summers, A Gothic Bibliography, p. 532. Tymn (ed), Horror Literature 1-128. Barzun and Taylor, A Catalogue of Crime 1002. Hubin (1994), p. 332. Rothschild 1017. Evans 28752. Shipton and Mooney 28752. Scattered foxing to text, chip from upper right margin of leaf C7 of volume 1, internally a very good copy. COPAC reports one copy (Trinity College, Dublin). OCLC reports 4 complete copies (AAS; Yale University; New York Public Library; University of Tennessee, Knoxville). Rare. (#136740).
No statement of printing.