William Godwin

Andrew McCann (Dartmouth College)
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William Godwin rose to public prominence in the early 1790s, with two publications that rank amongst the most influential of that decade:

Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence Modern Morals and Happiness

(1793) and

Things as They Are, or the Adventures of Caleb Williams

(1794). These two texts positioned Godwin at the center of the debates defining British political and cultural life in the decade following the French Revolution, and were crucial to the development of the radical critique of state authority in that period. By the end of the eighteenth century, however, the radical milieu with which Godwin was associated was disintegrating under the pressure of repressive legislation and emerging cultural nationalism occasioned by the rise of Napoleon and military conflict…

1854 words

Citation: McCann, Andrew. "William Godwin". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 January 2001 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=1780, accessed 05 March 2024.]

1780 William Godwin 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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