Things as They Are or The Adventures of Caleb Williams  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Things as They Are; or The Adventures of Caleb Williams (often abbreviated to Caleb Williams) (1794) by William Godwin is a three-volume novel written as a call to end the abuse of power by what Godwin saw as a tyrannical government.

Plot introduction

The novel follows the trials of Caleb Williams, who discovers a dark secret of his master, Squire Falkland, and is forced to flee his master's retribution despite his promises never to reveal what he has learned. Godwin described the book as "a series of adventures of flight and pursuit; the fugitive in perpetual apprehension of being overwhelmed with the worst calamities", so that Caleb Williams can be classified as an early thriller or mystery novel.

Stage Version

In order to evade a censorship ban on presenting the novel on the stage, the impresario Richard Brinsley Sheridan presented the piece on the stage of his Drury Lane Theatre in 1796 under the title The Iron Chest, his pretext for avoiding censorship being that his resident composer Stephen Storace had made an "operatic version" of the story.

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