My Current Research

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Pamela Clemit

William Godwin (1756-1836) was a protean figure of the English Enlightenment and a precursor of the modern social thinker. His most famous works are An Enquiry concerning Political Justice (1793), a foundational text of philosophical anarchism, and the novel Caleb Williams (1794). Political Justice was a focal point for English supporters of the French Revolution, and continues to engage and inspire scholars and political activists up to the present day. Godwin also wrote biographies, essays, works of educational theory, children’s books, and historiography. His first wife was Mary Wollstonecraft, the early advocate of women’s rights. Their daughter Mary grew up to marry Percy Bysshe Shelley, and to write Frankenstein (1818). Godwin is at the centre of my current work. I am the General Editor and the principal Volume Editor of the Oxford University Press edition of The Letters of William Godwin, 6 vols. (2011-). My research interests are in English literature of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and they intersect with history, politics, and philosophy. Much of my research is archival. I have worked extensively on the Abinger Collection at the Bodleian Library and on the Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle at the New York Public Library.

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For updates on my work, and other scholarship on Godwin and related subjects, please follow my blog.

Guest Post: Timothy Whelan, Mary Hays: A Dissenting Life (11/27/2018) - On 8 January 1796, Mary Hays (1759-1843) invited her friends Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin to tea at her London lodgings, bringing together two radical intellectuals who would become Britain’s most famous literary parents. Their daughter Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (later, Shelley) was born in the following year. Mary Hays’s contributions to English literary history went … Continue reading Guest Post: Timothy Whelan, Mary Hays: A Dissenting Life
New Publication: ‘Letters and Journals’, in The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism (10/2/2018) - An essay by Pamela Clemit, ‘Letters and Journals’, has just been published in The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism, edited by David Duff (pp. 418-33). The essay includes discussion of writings by Claire Clairmont, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Godwin, John Keats, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, Dorothy Wordsworth, and others. Romanticism was … Continue reading New Publication: ‘Letters and Journals’, in The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism
‘A serjeant of militia!’ Martin Smart, a Correspondent of William Godwin (4/17/2018) - The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is working with The Letters of William Godwin, edited by Pamela Clemit (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011-), to bring new information about Godwin and his correspondence networks to a wider readership. To read more about the project, click here. The second ODNB entry arising from this collaboration has now been published. The … Continue reading ‘A serjeant of militia!’ Martin Smart, a Correspondent of William Godwin

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