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William Godwina€™s Mandeville was described as his best novel by Percy Shelley, who sent a copy to Lord Byron, and it was immediately recognized by its other admirers as a work of unique power. Written one year after the battle of Waterloo and set in an earlier revolutionary period between the execution of Charles I and the Restoration, Mandeville is a novel of psychological warfare. The narrative begins with Mandevillea€™s rescue from the traumatic aftermath of the Ulster Rebellion of 1641 and proceeds through his early education by a fanatical Presbyterian minister to his persecution at Winchester school, his constant (and not unjustified) paranoia, and his confinement in an asylum. Mandevillea€™s final, desperate attempt to prevent his sistera€™s marriage to his enemy ends with his disfiguration, which also defaces endings based on settlement or reconciliation. The novela€™s events have many resonances with Godwina€™s own period. The historical appendices offer contemporary reviews, including Shelleya€™s letter to Godwin praising Mandeville, material explaining the novela€™s complex historical background, and contemporary writings on war, madness, and trauma.One day an animal of this sort was brought to me, the most beautiful my eyes ever beheld. ... I bought this horse; and he became my favourite. ... unfortunately for Mallison, that this was the occasion, upon which he ventured to make his first essay of that system of flattery and insinuation that he had laid down to himself.

Author: William Godwin
Publisher:Broadview Press - 2015-12-01

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