Originally published on Pamela Clemit:
Public intellectual, political radical, author: William Godwin was one of the most significant thinkers of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. His philosophical anarchism continues to engage and inspire political activists and scholars. Volume II of his letters, edited by Pamela Clemit, was published by Oxford University Press on 13 November 2014. It sheds new light on Godwin’s life and career, and on many of the literary, artistic, and political figures of his times.
Godwin knew or corresponded with almost everyone of note on the political left from the era of the French Revolution (1789) to that of the Great Reform Bill (1832) – including nearly all the major literary figures of the Romantic era.
Volume I of Godwin’s letters, published in 2011, reflected the origins and impact of his great philosophical work, An Enquiry concerning Political Justice (1793), and showed him at the height of his influence and reputation.
The letters in Volume II, dating from to January 1798 to 21 December 1805, reveal a less familiar person in different surroundings: a man still well-connected, attracting new friends and disciples, but increasingly embattled as a public intellectual, as a political radical, and as an author. This is Godwin on the back foot – but fighting on.
To read more about Volume II, visit Pamela Clemit’s website.