Fleetwood (novel)

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William Godwin's third novel, Fleetwood (1805) (sub-titled: Or, The New Man of Feeling) is like his first two, an eponymous tale (the title of the novel is the same as the name of the hero).

More than either Caleb Williams or St. Leon, however, Fleetwood is intended as a criticism of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his ideas about the virtue of natural man. Like Emile, the protagonist of Rousseau's treatise on education, Fleetwood is raised in the supposedly ideal world of nature. However, what is ideal for Rousseau turns out to be problematic in Fleetwood.

The novel, in a bildungsroman style, follows the problematic consequences of the hero's natural education.