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: Revisiting Five ODNB Lives from Godwin’s Circle (6/19/2020) - 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. Three new ODNB lives arising from this collaboration have been … Continue reading New Post: Revisiting Five ODNB Lives from Godwin’s Circle
New Publication: Four Holograph Letters from Charlotte Smith to James Edward Smith (5/19/2020) - An essay co-authored by Pamela Clemit and Brad Scott, ‘Botanical Networking: Four Holograph Letters from Charlotte Smith to James Edward Smith’, has just been published in Romanticism, 26.1 (2020), 1-12. The essay publishes the texts of four manuscript letters from the poet and novelist Charlotte Smith (1749-1806) to the botanist James Edward Smith (1759-1828), who … Continue reading New Publication: Four Holograph Letters from Charlotte Smith to James Edward Smith
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

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