Anarchism › ROMANTIC RATIONALIST: A WILLIAM GODWIN READER

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Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2017
978-1-62963-228-5



This is a new, updated and corrected edition of The Anarchist Writings of William Godwin, first published with a slightly misleading title by Freedom Press of London. It is edited and introduced by Peter Marshall with a new Foreword by John P. Clark and a cover portrait by Clifford Harper.

‘Peter Marshall has produced the most useful modern account of his life and now the most useful modern anthology of his writings… Marshall’s selection is sensible and valuable, bringing out the important points... His introduction is a good summary of Godwin’s life and work... Marshall is right to see him as “the most profound exponent philosophical anarchism.”’

Nicolas Walter, New Statesman

‘A handsome and handy little book with a 40-page introductory essay, excavating nuggets of Godwinian wisdom from the whole range of his writings’.

Colin Ward, Times Educational Supplement

‘An excellent little guide to Godwin’

Nicolas Walter, Freedom

‘An anarchist classic… with a valuable sketch of Godwin’s life and an interpretation of his work... Much of what Godwin says is obvious common sense ’.

Henry Geiger,Manas Journal

“If interested in the roots of modern anarchism, you’ll at least know William Godwin’s name. The fellow was quite prolific in writing, so he has a number of works to sort through. Hence the true benefit of this gorgeous volume: rather than sitting down with a volume or two, this reader empowers you to identify key topics, key texts, and then seek out the originals, should you choose, for more in depth writings and discourses. As it sits, the Romantic Rationalist is incredibly well edited. First, it’s well organized. Second, the editing is smooth and non-disruptive — it’s easy to move from one section to the next. Third, the sources annotations are clear and easy to follow. Fourth, the selections are of excellent quality… This book just feels and reads like a book that was made, framed, and presented with love… So when reading modern roots of such an important, vibrant, and powerful tradition as anarchism, it’s refreshing to see so much care involved on so many levels. Finally, the volume passes the most important test of any reader: can you sit down, crack it open to any section, and start reading comfortably. Yes. Most definitely.”

Luther Blisset, Medium March, 2017

In order to make Godwin's ideas available to a wider audience, Peter Marshall presents in this work a handy collection of his key writings in a clear and concise form, together with a long introduction containing a biographical sketch and an assessment of his contribution to anarchist theory and practice. The selections cover Godwin's views of human nature, ethics, politics, economics, education and his vision of a free society. Godwin will be of interest to all those who celebrate truth, happiness, individuality, equality and freedom. Indeed, never since the French Revolution has his ideas been so relevant.