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Caleb Williams or Things As They Are

Caleb Williams or Things As They Are by William Godwin
By: (1756-1836)

The novel describes the downfall of Ferdinando Falkland, a British squire, and his attempts to ruin and destroy the life of Caleb Williams, a poor but ambitious young man that Falkland hires as his personal secretary. Caleb accidentally discovers a terrible secret in his master’s past. Though Caleb promises to be bound to silence, Falkland, irrationally attached (in Godwin’s view) to ideas of social status and inborn virtue, cannot bear that his servant should possibly have power over him, and sets out to use various means–unfair trials, imprisonment, pursuit, to make sure that the information of which Caleb is the bearer will never be revealed.
Godwin described the book as “a series of adventures of flight and pursuit; the fugitive in perpetual apprehension of being overwhelmed with the worst calamities”, so that Caleb Williams can be classified as an early thriller or mystery novel.

First Page:

CALEB WILLIAMS

OR THINGS AS THEY ARE

BY WILLIAM GODWIN

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ERNEST A. BAKER, M.A.

LONDON

1903

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

MR. FERDINANDO FALKLAND, a high spirited and highly cultured gentleman, a country squire in "a remote county of England."

CALEB WILLIAMS, a youth, his secretary, the discoverer of his secret, and the supposed narrator of the consequent events.

MR. COLLINS, Falkland's steward and Caleb's friend.

THOMAS, a servant of Falkland's.

MR. FORESTER, Falkland's brother in law.

MR. BARNABAS TYRREL, a brutal and tyrannical squire.

MISS EMILY MELVILLE, his cousin and dependent, whom he cruelly maltreats and does to death.

GRIMES, a brutal rustic, suborned by Tyrrel to abduct Miss Melville.

DR. WILSON; MRS. HAMMOND, friends of Miss Melville. MR. HAWKINS, farmer; YOUNG HAWKINS, his son, Victims of Tyrrel's brutality, and wrongfully hanged as his murderers.

GINES, a robber and thief taker, instrument of Falkland's vengeance upon Caleb.

MR. RAYMOND, an "Arcadian" captain of robbers.

LARKINS, one of his band.

AN OLD HAG, housekeeper to the robbers... Continue reading book >>


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