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William Godwin and the Theatre
  • This book is no longer available to purchase from Cambridge Core
  • Publisher: Pickering & Chatto
  • Online publication date: December 2014
  • Online ISBN: 9781848930506

Book description

William Godwin is one of the most important figures of the Romantic period. Interest in his life and works has grown in recent years, as has a concurrent interest in the theatre of the time. Godwin wrote four plays at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries: St Dunstan (1790), Antonio; or, The Soldier’s Return (1800), Abbas, King of Persia (1801) and Faulkener (1807).
This book has two main objectives, the first being to provide the first comprehensive discussion of these four plays, situating them in their historical and political context, giving their publication and performance history where relevant and examining their relationship with Godwin's better-known novels. The second, broader aim is to consider the notion of theatricality in relation to Godwin’s political project. The theatrical culture of Britain in the 1790s was intrinsically linked to the political climate of the day, and Godwin’s writing was affected by this to the degree that his plays, novels and philosophical writings can be seen as part of a continuous train of thought. In drama he saw possibilities for the dissemination of political justice unmatched by any other means of literary expression. This book shows that any assessment of Godwin's political or literary legacy should now acknowledge the importance of his sustained commitment to drama.


"'this is an accurate, even moving, and deeply productive vision of Godwin ... Published together, The Plays of William Godwin and William Godwin and the Theatre ... are epoch-making.'"

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