Chronology of World, British and American Literature
William Godwin. British. 1793. Nonfiction. An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. All government is an obstacle to the development of mankind. Abolish all social, political institutions. Abolish government, law, wealth, marriage. Total confidence in the perfectibility of man. Influenced the Romantics.
William Godwin. British. 1794. Novel. The Adventures of Caleb Williams, or Things as They Are. Aristocrat for whom Caleb works is guilty of murder, for which someone else was convicted. Tries to keep Caleb from revealing his secret. When Caleb tells, he feels guilt at causing his master’s ruin. Suspense. Anticipated the detective novel. Comment on the positions of privileged and lower classes.
Goethe. German. 1794. Epic Poem. Reineke Fuchs. Retells the story of Reynard the Fox. The value of the amoral man to society: superior resourcefulness is a balance to the stultification of unchallenged morality.
Robert Burns. British. 1794. Poetry. Wha Hae Scots. Celebrates the victory of Robert Bruce over Edward II at
Ann Radcliffe. British. 1794. Gothic Novel. The Mysteries of Udolpho. Heroine, raised by foolish aunt, becomes involved with an evil adventurer; escapes.