Author: William Godwin
Pub date: 1794
Rating: 2 stars
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.
Revised introduction examines Godwin’s background of religious dissent, the literary and political climate of his times, and his belief in “philosophical anarchism”
This book was absolute torture to get through. I had to read it for my British Romantics class and it was taking me an hour to get through roughly 20 pages. I started out optimistic, for there were plenty of good reviews included and on Goodreads. However, it was so hard to get into it, I could only read for a couple minutes at a time and even that was hard to get through.
Things picked up in the second volume. It was easier to understand and things were actually happening. I was intrigued and really wanted to pick it up again and then it crashed. There were speeches and straight paragraphs of description where nothing happened or it was more telling than showing.
My main question throughout the entire novel was never answered. The ending (and alternate ending) both wrap up the story very nicely except for one piece of information- and that is what I wanted to know.
All in all, it was a decent detective story and a story of a “criminal” on the run, but just did not interest me. It was difficult to get through and not worth the effort.