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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New Post: William Godwin’s Juvenile Library in the Idler (10/8/2019) - This piece by Pamela Clemit was first published in the Idler, No. 66 (May-June 2019): Anarchy in the Nursery: William Godwin’s Juvenile Library William Godwin (1756-1836) is known for his anarchist magnum opus An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793), a guide to alternative living which still resonates today. He had a second life, less familiar … Continue reading New Post: William Godwin’s Juvenile Library in the Idler
Featured Publication: European Romantic Review: New Directions in Godwin Studies (9/10/2019) - William D. Brewer has guest-edited a William Godwin cluster issue of European Romantic Review, 30: 4 (Aug. 2019). It contains four essays pursuing new directions in Godwin studies, with an introduction by the editor. Thanks to William for providing this summary of the contents: This cluster issue of European Romantic Review is inspired by recent … Continue reading Featured Publication: European Romantic Review: New Directions in Godwin Studies
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

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