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Caleb Williams (Oxford World's…

Caleb Williams (Oxford World's Classics) (original 1794; edition 2009)

by William Godwin, Clemit Pamela (Editor)

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973913,416 (3.6)110
Title:Caleb Williams (Oxford World's Classics)
Authors:William Godwin
Other authors:Clemit Pamela (Editor)
Info:Oxford University Press (2009), Edition: New, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Caleb Williams; or, Things as They Are by William Godwin (1794)


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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
A murder is committed and two men are hanged for the crime. When our hero finds out who really did it, he is framed as a thief and imprisoned. He escapes but where can he go with a notorious thief-taker on his trail and the real murderer seeking to ensure his silence?

Although I read this because it was said to be the first detective novel, the solving of the crime is a comparatively small part of the book (about 30 pages when it took us about 100 pages to actually get to the murder). The chase is nearly 2/3 of the book, so really it deserves recognition as an early example of a chase thriller. It wasn't hugely exciting but it was an interesting picture of the time. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jul 22, 2017 |
This book is a very good study of the nature of man. It is also one of the first political, social, and judicial thrillers that had a great influence on such writers as Poe and Dickens and was instrumental in the evolution of modern day mysteries and detective stories. It is a very powerful story and I was actually sickened at the thought of all the injustices that Caleb Williams was put through. It seems to me that much has not changed since this novel was written as these injustices are still relevant today. I highly recommend this book as it is a testimony of these everyday injustices that should not be forgotten. This classic, although not very well known, is an important piece of literary fiction and should not be missed. ( )
  EadieB | Jan 19, 2016 |
Young Caleb Williams is a secretary to the wealthy Mr. Falkland, a man of upstanding character and morals. When Caleb pries into Falkland’s personal affairs and discovers he has committed a serious crime, Falkland vows that he will control and persecute Caleb for the rest of his life. Caleb attempts to run away, but Falkland’s influence follows him across England and ruins any prospects he has of living a normal life. The novel was a commentary on how the wealthy aristocracy controlled the judicial system in 18th century England to the point that the common man was denied fair treatment and basic justice.

I appreciated the message Godwin was trying to get across with the novel, but the whole thing was just too dated for me. Caleb’s repeated refusal to fight back even when things were at their worst grew old quickly. I also thought it could have been a bit shorter.
( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
A rollicking thriller, though gets awfully repetitive at times. Though it was intended as a showcase for Godwin's political ideas, the story takes on a life of its own and sometimes seems to contradict his political precepts. It is perhaps at its most interesting when it does so. ( )
  amydross | Sep 22, 2013 |
My copy Cassell (FN1) paperback, 360 pp. 1966 ( )
  Georges_T._Dodds | Mar 30, 2013 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Godwinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Baker, Ernest A.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clemit, PamelaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Handwerk, GaryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hindle, MauriceEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Markley, Arnold A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McCracken, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Sharon and Matthew
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My life has for several years been a theatre of calamity.
William Godwin's Caleb Williams was the first entirely successful political novel in the European narrative tradition. (Introduction)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140432566, Paperback)

Deals with the misdeeds of Tyrrel, a tyrannical country squire, who comes into conflict with Falkland, a neighbouring squire of a seemingly more benevolent disposition. When Tyrrel knocks Falkland down in public and Tyrrel is later found murdered, suspicion falls on Falkland.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:47 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When honest young Caleb Williams comes to work as a secretary for Squire Falkland, he soon begins to suspect that his new master is hiding a secret. As he digs deeper into Falkland's past and finally unearths the horrible truth, the results of his curiosity prove calamitous when-even though Caleb has loyally sworn never to disclose what he has discovered-the Squire enacts a cruel revenge. A tale of gripping suspense and psychological power, William Godwin's novel creates a searing depiction of the intolerable persecution meted out to a good man in pursuit of justice and equality. Written to expose the political oppression and corrupt hierarchies its author saw in the world around him, Caleb Williams makes a radical call to end the tyrannical misuses of power.… (more)

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