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 terrible secret. But as he digs deeper into Falkland's past and finally unearths the guilty 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 (1794) makes a radical call to end the tyrannical misuses of power.
William Godwin was an important figure in the transition from Enlightenment thinking to Romanticism during the early nineteenth century. A radical philosopher, novelist, historian, and progressive educationalist, he was in East Anglia in 1756 and trained for five years for the Dissenting ministry at Hoxton Academy, before abandoning a career as a minister to become a writer. The lover of Mary Wollstonecraft, his followers included Wordsworth, Coleridge and Shelley, and Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne were all influenced by his work. He died in London in 1836. Maurice Hindle divides his time between freelance writing and teaching for the Open University. He has also edited Frankenstein for the Penguin Classics.