Eighteenth-Century Fiction journal

Eighteenth-Century Fiction, a McMaster University journal

9 notes

The philosophical novel traces its history back to the 4th century CE, and many people are familiar with 20th-century works such as Siddartha by Hermann Hesse. Voltaire is well known for his philosophical novels Candide (1759) and the work depicted here, Zadig (1747). Novelist’s Magazine published an English translation by Francis Ashmore in 1784, illustrated with this scene when Zadig rediscovers his former lover Astarté as she writes his name in the earth. The novel presents its eponymous protagonist as one of the first systematic detectives in Western literature, which might have inspired Poe and Conan Doyle in their writings (see Thomas Henry Huxley’s article).
Even earlier than Poe, William Godwin wrote one of the first novels that could be included in the detective fiction genre: Caleb Williams (1794). For more on this late 18th-century detective novel, see the following Eighteenth-Century Fiction articles, free to read on the journal’s archive:
Godwin’s Caleb Williams: Showing the Strains in Detective FictionAuthor: Michael Cohen
Narrative and Ideology in Godwin’s Caleb WilliamsAuthor: Kenneth W. Graham
'The Subject of Detection': Legal Rhetoric and Subjectivity in Caleb WilliamsAuthor: Nicholas M. Williams
'I Will Unfold A Tale—!': Narrative, Epistemology, and Caleb WilliamsAuthor: Emily R. Anderson

The philosophical novel traces its history back to the 4th century CE, and many people are familiar with 20th-century works such as Siddartha by Hermann Hesse. Voltaire is well known for his philosophical novels Candide (1759) and the work depicted here, Zadig (1747). Novelist’s Magazine published an English translation by Francis Ashmore in 1784, illustrated with this scene when Zadig rediscovers his former lover Astarté as she writes his name in the earth. The novel presents its eponymous protagonist as one of the first systematic detectives in Western literature, which might have inspired Poe and Conan Doyle in their writings (see Thomas Henry Huxley’s article).

Even earlier than Poe, William Godwin wrote one of the first novels that could be included in the detective fiction genre: Caleb Williams (1794). For more on this late 18th-century detective novel, see the following Eighteenth-Century Fiction articles, free to read on the journal’s archive:

Godwin’s Caleb Williams: Showing the Strains in Detective Fiction
Author: Michael Cohen

Narrative and Ideology in Godwin’s Caleb Williams
Author: Kenneth W. Graham

'The Subject of Detection': Legal Rhetoric and Subjectivity in Caleb Williams
Author: Nicholas M. Williams

'I Will Unfold A Tale—!': Narrative, Epistemology, and Caleb Williams
Author: Emily R. Anderson

Filed under 18th-century literature detective fiction Eighteenth-Century Fiction Zadig Voltaire french literature eighteenth century 18th-century novels

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