William Godwin

William Godwin

William Godwin
1756 -1836

William Godwin Biography

William Godwin (1756-1836) was an English philosopher, novelist, and political theorist. He was born in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England, on March 3, 1756, and was the seventh of 13 children. His father was a dissenting minister and his mother died when he was just 11 years old.

Godwin was largely self-taught and became a successful writer and philosopher in his adulthood. He is best known for his work "An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice" (1793), which espoused radical ideas such as individual freedom, equality, and the dismantling of institutions such as monarchy and the church.

In addition to his philosophical work, Godwin was a prolific writer of novels and plays. His most famous novel, "Caleb Williams" (1794), explored the themes of power, corruption, and justice, and was a major influence on the Gothic novel genre.

Godwin was also an important figure in the intellectual circles of his time, and was friends with many prominent writers and thinkers, including Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft (whom he married), and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Despite his radical ideas and progressive thinking, Godwin struggled financially throughout much of his life. He died in London on April 7, 1836, at the age of 80.

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