Godwin on Wollstonecraft

William Godwin and Prof. Richard Holmes, O.B.E.

The philosopher William Godwin fell in love with and married the radical feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, only to attend her deathbed (giving birth to their child, the late Mary Shelley). Heartbroken, Godwin immediately shut himself up in his study and wrote this intensely moving biography.

True to his philosophical belief in absolute sincerity, Godwin coolly describes Wollstonecraft’s previous love affairs, her time in revolutionary Paris, her illegitimate child, and her two suicide attempts. The book almost wrecked both their reputations, but can now be seen as a masterpiece of indiscretion and human honesty.