Reviews of Caleb Williams

Caleb Williams
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‘Given the unusual composition and publication history of William Godwin’s Caleb Williams, Pamela Clemit’s 2009 edition is a welcome new guide to the novel, its tumultuous times, and the intricacies of its production…. She is the first editor to offer the original 1794 text in paperback format…. Clemit’s introduction … captures the paradoxes that make the novel so maddening and yet mesmerising…. The volume is an important historical document in its own right, making the first edition widely accessible and so encouraging new scholarship that compares older and newer versions.’ (From Nicolle Jordan, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, 22: 4 (Summer 2010), 736-8).

‘All in all, this is an excellent piece of succinct scholarship as one would expect from an editor with Clemit’s credentials. The deft and authoritative introduction delineates the novel’s emergence in the political environment of the early and mid-1790s. It is accompanied by a comprehensive and up-to-date selection of criticism and the text itself is carefully footnoted. In the suppressed 1794 preface, Godwin reflected on the decision to embody his political ideals in fiction. He hoped he would have ‘reason to congratulate himself upon the vehicle he has chosen’. Clemit has done this aspiration justice; this crisp new edition will serve a new generation of readers very well.’ (From David O’Shaughnessy, The Charles Lamb Bulletin, NS 151 (July 2010), 88-9.)

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