• Publication Date: December 20, 2000
  • ISBN: 9781551112329 / 1551112329
  • 541 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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  • Publication Date: December 20, 2000
  • ISBN: 9781551112329 / 1551112329
  • 541 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Fleetwood is a pivotal novel of early English Romanticism and a powerful critique of the Romantic emotionalism being spread across Europe in Rousseau’s name. Godwin’s “new man of feeling” chronicles the impact of his “natural” education in the wilds of Wales, and his behavior allows Godwin to draw attention to an array of contemporary social issues. Godwin attacks the inhumanity of the early factory system, and indicts British society for its patriarchal inequities. His portrayal of Fleetwood’s obsessive and devastating jealousy contributed significantly to the development of psychological realism in English fiction. As essential historical background, the editors provide reviews, and excerpts from Rousseau’s writing and from Godwin’s other works.


Fleetwood has long deserved a wider audience. Its pioneering explorations—of factory labour, of the role of manipulation in pedagogy, and of obsession and spousal abuse—show Godwin ranging beyond the questions of rationality and justice that marked his earlier works. Handwerk and Markley have provided a clear and thorough account of Godwin’s career and intellectual milieu. Their introduction and their well-chosen supplementary materials demonstrate Godwin’s contributions to debates about politics, marriage, the rights of women, education, and travel. The appearance of Fleetwood in this scholarly edition will help readers understand Godwin’s formidable reputation for good and for evil among his contemporaries, and will invite a re-evaluation in our time of his power as a thinker and a novelist.” — Jeanne Moskal, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

William Godwin: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text
Preface to the First Edition (1805)

Appendix A: Foundations of the Novel

  1. William Godwin, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Its Influence on Morals and Happiness (1797)
    1. “Of Political Imposture”
    2. “Of Cooperation, Cohabitation and Marriage”
  2. William Godwin, The Enquirer: Reflections on Education, Manners and Literature in a Series of Essays (1797)
    1. “Of Public and Private Education”
    2. “Of Deception and Frankness”
    3. “Of the Obtaining of Confidence”
    4. “Of Choice in Reading”
    5. “Of Difference of Opinion”
  3. Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)
    1. “The Prevailing Opinion Of A Sexual Character Discussed”
    2. “Observations On The State Of Degradation To Which Woman Is Reduced By Various Causes”
    3. “Animadversions On Some Of The Writers Who Have Rendered Women Objects Of Pity, Bordering On Contempt”
    4. “The Effect Which An Early Association Of Ideas Has Upon The Character”
    5. “On National Education”
    6. “Some Instances Of The Folly Which The Ignorance of Women Generates; With Concluding Reflections On The Moral Improvement That A Revolution In Female Manners Might Naturally Be Expected To Produce”

Appendix B: The Influence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  1. Julie, ou La Nouvelle Héloïse (1761), translated by Gary Handwerk.
  2. Émile, or on Education (1762), translated by Grace Roosevelt.

Appendix C: The Novel of Sensibility

  1. Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy, By Mr. Yorick (1768)
  2. Henry Mackenzie, The Man of Feeling (1771)
  3. Henry Mackenzie, Julia de Roubigné (1777)

Appendix D: The English Jacobin Novel and the Lot of Woman

  1. Elizabeth Inchbald, A Simple Story (1791)
  2. Mary Wollstonecraft, The Wrongs of Woman: Or, Maria (1798)
  3. Mary Hays, The Victim of Prejudice (1799)

Appendix E: The Resonance of Renaissance Drama

  1. John Fletcher, A Wife for a Moneth (1624)
  2. Thomas Otway, Don Carlos (1676)

Appendix F: The Lure of Switzerland

  1. William Coxe, Travels in Switzerland (1778, 1789)
  2. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley, History of a Six Weeks’ Tour (1817)

Appendix G: Contemporary Reviews

  1. Critical Review (April 1805)
  2. Walter Scott, Edinburgh Review (April 1805)
  3. The Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine (August 1805)
  4. British Critic (August 1805)
  5. Monthly Review (January 1806)
  6. European Magazine and London Review (April 1806)
  7. Review of the 1832 edition of Fleetwood, from the Examiner (December 1832)

Select Bibliography

Gary Handwerk a professor at the University of Washington, and the late A.A. Markley, an assistant professor at Penn State University, Delaware County, have both written extensively on Romantic literature, and edited the Broadview edition of Godwin’s Caleb Williams.