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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. II. 1800
Thomas Holcroft to William Godwin, 9 September 1800

Contents Vol. I
Ch. I. 1756-1785
Ch. II. 1785-1788
Ch. III. 1788-1792
Ch. IV. 1793
Ch. V. 1783-1794
Ch. VI. 1794-1796
Ch. VII. 1759-1791
Ch. VII. 1791-1796
Ch. IX. 1797
Ch. X. 1797
Ch. XI. 1798
Ch. XII. 1799
Ch. XIII. 1800
Contents Vol. II
Ch. I. 1800
Ch. II. 1800
Ch. III. 1800
Ch. IV. 1801-1803
Ch. V. 1802-1803
Ch. VI. 1804-1806
Ch. VII. 1806-1811
Ch. VIII. 1811-1814
Ch. IX. 1812-1819
Ch. X. 1819-1824
Ch. XI. 1824-1832
Ch. XII. 1832-1836
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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
Altona. Sept. 9th, 1800.

“. . . I know not how to speak of ‘St Leon’ so as to do you justice. I always felt the insurmountable defect of the work, and the strained if not improbable incidents that must be invented to exhibit a miserable man who had every means of enjoyment in his power. You have repeated to me times almost innumerable the necessity of keeping characters in action, and never suffering them to sermonize, yet of this fault ‘St Leon’ is particularly found guilty by all whom I have heard speak of the work, with whom my feelings coincide. Is it then a weak and unworthy performance? Far indeed the reverse. Men must have arrived at an uncommon degree of general wisdom, when ‘St Leon’ shall no longer be read. Your Marguerite is inimitable. Knowing the model after which you drew, as often as I recollected it, my heart ached while I read. Your Bethlem Gabor is wonderfully drawn. It is like the figures of Michel Angelo, any section of an outline of which taken apart would be improbable and false, but which are so combined as to form a sublime whole. Having read I could coldly come back, and point to the caricature traits of the portrait, but while reading I could feel nothing but astonishment and admiration. Through the
whole work there is so much to censure, and so much to astonish, that in my opinion it is in every sense highly interesting. Its faults and its beauties are worthy the attention of the most acute critic. . . .

“Do you wilfully omit to sign your letters? No. The question is an outrage.

T. Holcroft.”