The Jacobin Novel

  • J. R. Watson


The English ‘Jacobin novel’ was a product of the 1790s, inspired by the events in France and fuelled by the controversies which followed Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France. During these arguments, the supporters of the Revolution were branded as ‘Jacobins’ or extremists by their opponents; they accepted the name with pride. They were members of a loose group of sympathisers which included William Frend (Coleridge’s tutor at Cambridge, who was sacked for his radical views and for his Unitarianism), John Thelwall, Richard Price, Thomas Holcroft, William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft and others; Wordsworth was an occasional member of the group at some point, certainly in 1795. They often met at Frend’s house, or Godwin’s, or at the house of Joseph Johnson, the radical publisher. The principal novelists of the group were William Godwin and Thomas Holcroft, and to them must be added the names of Elizabeth Inchbald, an actress and writer, and Robert Bage, who lived outside London.


Liberal Politics Psychological Realism Radical View Social Question Book VIII 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1992

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  • J. R. Watson

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