An essay by Pamela Clemit and Avner Offer, ‘Godwin’s Citations, 1783-2005: Highest Renown at the Pinnacle of Disfavor’, published in Nineteenth-Century Prose (41: 1/2, Spring/Fall 2014), 27-52, is now available online.
Most scholars agree that Godwin enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame in the 1790s, but sank into obscurity after 1800. Analysis of Godwin’s citations allows for a more nuanced view of his reputation, and holds a few surprises as well.
Godwin’s reputation, measured by citations, fell into several different periods. The first phase did not peak in the early 1790s, but in 1801 (admittedly for negative reasons). This was followed by a precipitate loss of interest, down to 1811. A slow recovery of interest began in 1812, peaking in 1831, and declining gradually, touching bottom a few years after his death. Godwin’s reputation was low during the mid-Victorian period, but began to revive again in the 1880s. Since then, his reputation has increased and continues to do so.
To read the full essay, click here.