• Publication Date: December 1, 2015
  • ISBN: 9781554810857 / 155481085X
  • 528 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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  • Publication Date: December 1, 2015
  • ISBN: 9781554810857 / 155481085X
  • 528 pages; 5½" x 8½"

William Godwin’s Mandeville was described as his best novel by Percy Shelley, who sent a copy to Lord Byron, and it was immediately recognized by its other admirers as a work of unique power. Written one year after the battle of Waterloo and set in an earlier revolutionary period between the execution of Charles I and the Restoration, Mandeville is a novel of psychological warfare. The narrative begins with Mandeville’s rescue from the traumatic aftermath of the Ulster Rebellion of 1641 and proceeds through his early education by a fanatical Presbyterian minister to his persecution at Winchester school, his constant (and not unjustified) paranoia, and his confinement in an asylum. Mandeville’s final, desperate attempt to prevent his sister’s marriage to his enemy ends with his disfiguration, which also defaces endings based on settlement or reconciliation. The novel’s events have many resonances with Godwin’s own period.

The historical appendices offer contemporary reviews, including Shelley’s letter to Godwin praising Mandeville, material explaining the novel’s complex historical background, and contemporary writings on war, madness, and trauma.


“Godwin’s most harrowing novel and trenchant analysis of the stalling of political justice by personal trauma, Mandeville probes the importance of pathology to history. Set in the period of the English Revolution, Mandeville narrates Charles Mandeville’s wounding by history and the wounding of the capacity for progress. Expertly situated and annotated by Godwin’s most comprehensive reader, Tilottama Rajan’s edition fleshes out the historical, political, doctrinal, and psychopathological contexts that inform this most damaged Godwinian character. An alternative form of historical novel, Mandeville showcases the negative in persons and events as a deliberate challenge to a taste that impedes radical change. This volume is mandatory reading for scholars of Godwin, projects of Enlightenment, Anglo-Irish relations, and trauma.” — Julie Carlson, University of California, Santa Barbara

Mandeville is William Godwin’s darkest, most politically abrasive novel. Godwin’s reputation has surged in recent years. He has benefited from the movement to historicize literary texts which has gathered force in the last two decades. Broadview Press has been in the lead, providing excellent classroom editions of Godwin’s major novels, Caleb Williams, St Leon, and Fleetwood—and now, Mandeville. Tilottama Rajan presents a scrupulously edited text, together with an original critical interpretation. The appendices are comprehensive, well-judged, and illuminating. This edition is compelling in its own right and a point of entry into Godwin’s broader engagement with seventeenth-century English and Irish history.” — Pamela Clemit, Queen Mary University of London

“We continue to be indebted to Broadview Press for issuing first-rate editions, with the past year bringing … William Godwin’s Mandeville, edited by Tilottama Rajan, who enables us to read the novel in relation to its historical sources and in conversation with a range of fascinating texts on ‘Extreme Phenomena’ from Carl von Clausewitz on war to John Hunter on wounds to Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling on the negative.” — Jeffrey N. Cox, Studies in English Literature

William Godwin: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text
Historical Timeline for Mandeville

Mandeville: A Tale of the Seventeenth Century in England

  • Volume I
    Volume II
    Volume III

Appendix A: Godwin, “Fragment of a Romance” (1833)

Appendix B: From Godwin, “Of History and Romance” (1797)

Appendix C: Contemporary Reviews

  1. From P.B. Shelley, Letter to Godwin (7 December 1817)
  2. From P.B. Shelley, Letter to The Examiner (28 December 1817)
  3. From Champion (1817)
  4. From [John Gibson Lockhart,] Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (December 1817)
  5. From an Anonymous Response to Lockhart, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (January 1818)
  6. From The British Review and London Critical Journal (1818)
  7. From [James Mackintosh,] The Edinburgh Magazine, and Literary Miscellany (1818)
  8. From Jean Cohen, Preface to French translation of Mandeville (1818)

Appendix D: Historical Background: The Commonwealth, Cromwell, the English Revolution, and the Restoration

  1. From Godwin, History of the Commonwealth of England (1824-28)
  2. From John Thelwall, The Tribune (3 June 1795)
  3. From Godwin, History of the Commonwealth of England (1824-28)
  4. From Gilbert Burnet, History of His Own Time (1724)

Appendix E: Religion and the Politics of Church Government

  1. From John Milton, Of Prelatical Episcopacy (1641)
  2. From John Milton, The Reason of Church Government (1642)
  3. From Godwin, History of the Commonwealth of England (1824-28)
  4. From Samuel Rutherford, Lex Rex (1644)
  5. From William Everard, Gerrard Winstanley, et al., The True Levellers’ Standard Advanced (1649)
  6. From Encyclopedia Londinensis (1810)
  7. From Samuel R. Gardiner, History of the Civil War (1889)
  8. From David Hume, “On Parties in Great Britain” (1741)

Appendix F: Ireland

  1. From Laurence Echard, The History of England (1720)
  2. From Godwin, History of the Commonwealth of England (1824-28)
  3. From Godwin, History of the Commonwealth of England (1824-28)
  4. From “Act for the Settlement of Ireland” (1652)
  5. From Godwin, “To the People of Ireland” (1786)
  6. From Godwin, “Ireland” (25 December 1821)

Appendix G: Extreme Phenomena: Cultural, Physical, and Psychic

  1. On War
    1. From Carl von Clausewitz, On War (1832)
  2. On Wounds
    1. From The Complete Dictionary of the Arts and Sciences … (1764)
    2. From The Works of John Hunter (1835)
  3. On Madness, Dissidence, and Trauma
    1. From Godwin, “Of the Rebelliousness of Man” (1831)
    2. From Philippe Pinel, A Treatise on Insanity (1801)
    3. From John Ferriar, An Essay Towards a Theory of Apparitions (1813)
  4. The Literature of Power
    1. From Thomas De Quincey, Letters to a Young Man (1823)
  5. The Power of the Negative
    1. From G.W.F. Hegel, The Philosophy of Nature (1830)
    2. From F.W.J. Schelling, Ages of the World (1815)
    3. From Friedrich Schelling, Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom (1809)

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Tilottama Rajan is Canada Research Chair and Distinguished University Professor of English at the University of Western Ontario. She is the editor of the Broadview Edition of Mary Shelley’s Valperga.