THINGS AS THEY ARE; OR, THE ADVENTURES OF CALEB WILLIAMS ... The Second Edition Corrected. William Godwin.

THINGS AS THEY ARE; OR, THE ADVENTURES OF CALEB WILLIAMS ... The Second Edition Corrected. London: Printed for G. G. and J. Robinson, Patternoster-Row, 1796. 12mo, three volumes: pp. [i-v] vi-vii [viii] [1] 2-293 [294: blank]; [i-iv] [1] 2-285 [286: blank]; [i-iv] [1] 2-312, half title leaf present in each volume, nineteenth century three-quarter leather and marbled boards, spine panels lettered and tooled in gold. Second edition, corrected. Besides incorporating textual corrections, this edition includes a preface by Godwin intended for the first edition but omitted because it alarmed booksellers. 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. 100-27. 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. Leather scuffed at edges, a few scuffs to boards, a very good copy. An important edition of this novel. (#136818).

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