William Godwin is considered one of the first exponents of utilitarianism, and the first modern proponent of anarchism. Godwin was attacked because of his marriage to the pioneering feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft in 1797 and his candid biography of her after her death. Their daughter, Mary Godwin (later Mary Shelley) would go on to write Frankenstein and marry the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Godwin was born in Wisbech in Cambridgeshire to John and Anne Godwin. William Godwin was educated for his father's profession at Hoxton Academy. His first published work was an anonymous Life of Lord Chatham (1783). His literary method, as he described it in the introduction to the novel, also proved influential: Godwin began with the conclusion of Caleb being chased through Britain, and developed the plot backwards. Dickens and Poe both commented on Godwin's ingenuity in doing this.
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