William Godwin

1756 (Wisbech, England) – 1836 (London)

Godwin had a complicated relationship with Shelley, influencing his ideas, reliant on his money, and refusing to speak with him (despite their close bonds and shared sexual ideals) when Shelley eloped with Godwin’s and Wollstonecraft’s daughter Mary. The romantics Wordsworth, Southey and Coleridge were all attracted to and influenced by Godwin, as was Hazlitt, who became both his friend and his biographer. Price, Priestley, Blake and Wollstonecraft were all members of the radical dissenting group centred around Godwin’s publisher Johnson. Godwin also influenced Owen, and helped ensure that Paine’s ‘Rights of Man’ got published.