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The Plays of William Godwin

Editor: David O’Shaughnessy

The Pickering Masters
Hb: c.400pp: December 2009
978 1 85196 631 8: 234x156mm: £100/$180

Best known for Enquiry

Concerning Political Justice (1793)
and Caleb Williams (1794), William
Godwin (1756–1836) is one of William Godwin, from
the most important figures of the William Godwin: his Friends and
Contemporaries, Charles Kegan Paul (1876)
Romantic period. He wrote four
plays; Antonio; or, The Soldier’s • first modern scholarly
Return (1800) and Faulkener, A presentation of the plays of
Tragedy (1807) were published this increasingly important
in his lifetime, whilst St Dunstan Romantic figure
(1790) and Abbas, King of Persia
• includes Godwin’s unpublished
(1801) exist only in manuscript. The
‘Note on Tragedy’
plays cover a substantial period
of Godwin’s career and bracket • includes two little-known
his period of greatest fame and plays which have never been
creativity. published before and are not
available electronically
Until now, the plays have not been
available in a modern scholarly • provides a vital and previously
format. This modern critical edition untapped source for
is edited to the highest standards understanding theatre of the
and offers academics the chance Romantic period
to build a more complete picture • editorial apparatus includes
of Godwin as a writer and political a substantial general
figure. It will be essential for those introduction, a chronology,
studying Literature, Romanticism endnotes, and a select
and History of the Theatre. bibliography

w w w. p i c k e r i n g c h a t t o . c o m /g o d w i n p l a y s
St Dunstan (1790) Abbas, King of Persia (1801)
St Dunstan represents Godwin’s first response Although there are only three acts of this
to the events of the French Revolution. In this tragedy remaining, Abbas reveals a strong
five act tragedy he also begins to explore some of Shakespearean influence as well as being an
the key ideas that would shape Political Justice. excellent example of the Romantic interest
in Orientalism. The play-text incorporates
Antonio; or,
annotations by Coleridge and Charles Lamb
The Soldier’s Return (1800)
whose advice Godwin sought during the play’s
Godwin spent almost four years writing this composition.
tragedy in the 1790s. The play is an important
Faulkener, A Tragedy (1807)
reaction against the culture of spectacle of the
Faulkener represents Godwin’s greatest
London theatre which he felt denigrated the
success on the stage and in its conformity to the
function of drama and is closely associated with
structure and themes of contemporary plays
the politics of his collection of essays
represents a growing pragmatism on Godwin’s
The Enquirer (1797).
part of what was politically and artistically
possible on the Georgian stage.

Related titles
The Political and The Collected Novels
Philosophical Writings of and Memoirs of William
William Godwin Godwin
General Editor: Mark Philp Editors: Pamela Clemit, Maurice Hindle
and Mark Philp
The Pickering Masters
7 Volume Set: 2632pp: 1993 The Pickering Masters
978 1 85196 026 2: 234x156mm: £525/$925 8 Volume Set: 2024pp: 1992
978 1 85196 007 1: 234x156mm: £550/$975

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