Birthplace Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England
Post Held Nonconformist clergyman, 1777-82; Professional writer and publisher
Publications Books: 1. Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793, 1946, 1976); 2. Of Popukation (1820); 3. Godwin Criticism, ed. B. R. Pollin (OUP, 1969).
Career His Enquiry... was a great success, with its emphasis on the perfectability of man. His vision of a prosperous society in which equality reigned provoked Malthus into raising the difficulty caused by increasing population. Godwin's role in stimulating Malthus' Essay is better remembered than his positive contribution. His belated attempt to refute Malthus in Of Population was a pathetic failure, despite the good arguments available to him.
Secondary Literature A Fantasy of Reason: The Life and Thought of William Godwin, ed. D. Locke (Routledhe & Kegan Paul, 1980)