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William Godwin, about the first great philosophical anarchist, the partner of Mary Wollstonecraft and the father of the future Mary Shelley, was first published by Yale University Press in hardback and paperback.
PM Press have recently republished it with the title William Godwin: Philosopher, Novelist, Revolutionary

It has an excellent new Foreword written by John P. Clark. He claims that it is an ‘enduring classic… beautifully written and exhaustively researched… the most comprehensive and richly detailed work ever to appear on Godwin as thinker, writer, and person’.
The new paperback has a different cover and is updated and corrected.


‘Marshall steers his course… with unfailing sensitivity and skill. It is hard to see how the task could have been better done.’
Michael Foot, The Observer ‘Book of the Year’

‘The best biography of Godwin for more than a century… Marshall tells us as much about Godwin as we are likely to want to know and also makes us want to read him.’
Nicolas Walter, Spectator

‘Marshall writes as an unashamed Godwinian… He has written a fluent combination of biography and critical study in which the two aspects are well balanced, and, while William Godwin is unlikely to be superseded by another biography for some time, it will form an excellent starting point for further critical consideration of Godwin, that strange man so dramatically rescued from oblivion.’
George Woodcock, Our Generation

‘Excellent study of the life and works of William Godwin…The author’s scholarship is exemplary… For the reader who wishes to comprehend the many sides of this intriguing figure, and to understand his considerable historical significance, this work will be an invaluable source of illumination.’
John P. Clark, Criticism

‘Vast and richly detailed’
Colin Ward, Times Educational Supplement

‘A labour of love, a magnificent scholarly undertaking which must long remain the standard work on the subject.’
Gregory Clayes, Historical Journal

‘Admirable… Marshall certainly deserves to be praised for writing a major work of scholarship on an important and fascinating man.’
H. T. Dickinson, Times Higher Educational Supplement

‘Peter Marshall’s handsome and substantial biography [is]… authoritative and up-to-date… comprehensive and scholarly’.
Don Locke, Times Literary Supplement

‘A wholly successful attempt to trace the evolution and importance of Godwin’s thought… A fascinating biography… amply and entertainingly told, though it always takes second place to Peter Marshall’s noble aim, which is to do Godwin critical justice.’
Nigel Cross, New Statesman

‘Peter Marshall’s biography is rich in interesting history… of a good-hearted writer’.
D.A.N. Jones, London Review of Books

‘Fully confirms Godwin’s reputation as the first and most capable exponent of anarchism, as a major figure in the development of utilitarianism, and as a pioneer in socialist economics and progressive education.’
The Scotsman

‘No really first-rate biography has been done before this one. The task requires an enormous command of early modern English history, extensive familiarity with the lives and works of early relevant writers and public figures of the period, peculiar narrative skill in tracing the sharp rise and fall of Godwin’s star, and special perspicuity and tact in dealing with relations between what happened to Godwin, what he wrote and what he did. Marshall is able to bring all of these capacities to bear upon his complex subject.’
James K. Chandler, Modern Language Review

‘A thorough and commendable piece of biographical work’
Mark Philp, Enlightenment and Dissent

‘A glowing account… by a kindly biographer’
Gertrude Himmelfarb, New Republic

‘A pleasure to read and a delight to see… It is gracefully written with a clear command of philosophical and political controversies. It has a solid and comprehensive sense of Godwin’s literary contributions and, most important of all, it is tolerant of the many twists and turns of Godwin’s thought over time… It is, as we say of too few books, a good read and lovely book.’
Isaac Kramnik, Albion

‘It brings back a thinker who was once visionary and confident, and who had the good fortune to write when utopian ideas did not seem utopian.’
David Bromwich, New York Times Review of Book

‘The most substantial and comprehensive study… Peter Marshall’s book is a major contribution to the revaluation of a vigorous, original and honest thinker.’
Thomas Balfour Elder

‘Godwin’s reputation… may now be restored with publication of this memorable biography.’
Nelson Hayes, The Patriot Ledger

‘An absorbing biography… presenting a sympathetic portrait of a principled, embattled humanist. Peter Marshall describes these voluminous and multifaceted writings discerningly.’
M.B. Freidman, Choice

‘An ambitious study that offers a thorough exploration of Godwin’s life and complex times’
Linda Simon, Library Journal

‘A major contribution to the study of Godwin and his age’
Katherine M. Morsberger, Magill’s Literary Annual

‘The present author is to be commended for having written a full-fledged biography of Godwin…. The volume, written in a sympathetic vein, is to a considerable extent based on hitherto untapped source materials.’
International Review of Social History

‘Peter Marshall’s book has very great qualities… As a philosopher, he looks at his subject with a clear mind and admirably handles his material, from the literary work to the philosophical and political doctrines… The impression given of the great anarchist’s steady, regular and coherent course is amply served by the assured direction of Marshall’s arguments. To read his book is a pleasure. He knows how to be a fine writer (his transitions and expressions are brilliantly constructed) and to be an agreeable storyteller (wielding anecdotes with tact)… The book is therefore a success.

Translated from the French of Serge Soupel, Etudes Anglaises