Since the 1970s, when paperback editions of Political Justice and Caleb Williams became available, Godwin has been approached in various ways: as a literary writer, a guru, and a serious philosophical thinker. Broadly speaking, these perspectives were united by the first wave of historical critics (often associated with the “old” New Left), split apart by the rise of postmodernism, and welded together again by new historicists, who often drew on other innovatory critical trends, such as the history of the book. A number of tropes surface periodically in Godwin criticism, testifying to the enduring power of his ideas.
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