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RIchard Gough Thomas

Richard Gough Thomas is a writer and critic, the author of William Godwin: A Political Life (2019) and a contributor to The Cambridge Guide to the Eighteenth-Century Novel, 1660–1820. Richard has worked at every level of Britain’s educational system and holds a doctorate from Manchester Metropolitan University on the role of empiricism in Godwin’s educational writing. He lives in Sheffield, surrounded by more toy foxes than he cares to think about.

Article: Mandeville, Mourning and National Myths

Mandeville (1817) is the second of William Godwin’s historical novels, and is set during the period of the English Commonwealth (1649–60). Readers at the time of its publication made comparisons with the ‘German school’ of novel writing, linking it with both the gothic and sturm-und-drang fictional modes. Modern critics have recognised it as a work exploring psychological and cultural trauma, the aftereffects of war on the generation that came after. Godwin cited Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland (1798) and Joanna Bailie’s De Monfort (1798) as major influences on the novel, and this essay will attempt to use these texts as a vector to explore the direction of Godwin’s ideas. Continue reading

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