Review: The Idler on The Letters of William Godwin

Tom Hodgkinson has published the first review covering both Volumes I and II of The Letters of William Godwin, edited by Pamela Clemit, 6 vols. in progress (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011-).

In addition to the insights the volumes bring to Godwin’s life and works, Hodgkinson reports that the letters are full of ‘fascinating details about 18th and 19th century life. A wider picture emerges’ – a picture that is enriched by the ‘meticulous’ scholarly annotations.

godwin_crop1‘The two volumes of letters cover the period 1778-1805, and see Godwin’s star rise and fall, at least in terms of his public and financial success. Both volumes read like a thriller or a love story.’

Hodgkinson observes that Godwin was a towering figure in intellectual London in the late 18th and early 19th centuries who continues to offer inspiration for writers and thinkers today. Like the Idler Academy, Godwin ‘dreamed of a world where the proper use of leisure, to read, study and be creative took the place of humdrum toil for money’.

The Idler Godwin Project aims to bring Godwin’s life and work to a wider audience. Over the next few months The Idler will be reprinting passages from the letters chosen by Tom Hodgkinson and publishing blog posts by Pamela Clemit on Godwin’s anarchistic thought and its relevance to our own times.

To read Tom Hodgkinson’s full review, see The Idler; to read my first contribution to The Godwin Project, click here.

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