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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XI. The Period of the French Revolution.

XIII. The Growth of the Later Novel

§ 5. William Godwin

The revolutionary novel of Godwin, Holcroft, Mrs. Inchbald and Bage may be said to be the first instance (unless the novel of sensibility be allowed a position in the same line) of fiction proper (as distinguished from religious or other allegory) succumbing to purpose: and there may be some who would say that the inevitable evil of the connection showed itself at once. Here, of course, the French originals are obvious and incontestable. Rousseau in all the four, Diderot, to no small extent, in Bage, supply, to those who know them, commentaries or parallel texts, as it were, to be read with Caleb Williams and A Simple Story, Anna St. Ives and Hermsprong. But the difference, not merely of genius, but of circumstance and atmosphere, is most remarkable.