William Godwin

William Godwin (3 March 1756 – 7 April 1836) was an English journalist, political philosopher and novelist. He is considered one of the first exponents of utilitarianism and the first modern proponent of anarchism.[2] Godwin is most famous for two books that he published within the space of a year: An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, an attack on political institutions, and Things as They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams, an early mystery novel which attacks aristocratic privilege. Based on the success of both, Godwin featured prominently in the radical circles of London in the 1790s. He wrote prolifically in the genres of novels, history and demography throughout his life.

William Godwin
Born(1756-03-03)3 March 1756
Died7 April 1836(1836-04-07) (aged 80)
New Palace Yard, Westminster, England
EducationHoxton Academy
Notable work
Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, Things as They Are
(m. 1797; died 1797)

(m. 1801)
Era19th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolPhilosophical anarchism
Main interests
Social philosophy, political philosophy, ethics
Notable ideas

In the conservative reaction to British radicalism, Godwin was attacked, in part because of his marriage to the feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft in 1797 and his candid biography of her after her death from childbirth. Their daughter, later known as Mary Shelley, would go on to write Frankenstein and marry the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. With his second wife, Mary Jane Clairmont, Godwin set up The Juvenile Library, allowing the family to write their own works for children (sometimes using noms de plume) and translate and publish many other books, some of enduring significance. Godwin has had considerable influence on British literature and literary culture.