Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Godwin's diary

What are Tuesdays for, anyway? I shall attempt to use the day to highlight resources about Mary Wollstonecraft, her life, works, circle, and so on. One week you can look forward to a book review, and the next, some nuggets on the internet, suitably cleansed of their subterranean grime. Think of this as your Tuesday edition of the Analytic Review. First up:
Mary's last love, William Godwin, kept an extensive if somewhat overly abbreviated diary. The Bodleian Library, who sponsored the excellent Shelley's Ghost exhibition which I reviewed here in situ and here more virtually, have digitised these decades of notes. The diary is now highly searchable: hit it!
The diary is a resource of immense importance to researchers of history, politics, literature, and women’s studies.  It maps the radical intellectual and political life of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, as well as providing extensive evidence on publishing relations, conversational coteries, artistic circles and theatrical production over the same period. 
One can also trace the developing relationships of one of the most important families in British literature, Godwin’s own, which included his wife Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797), their daughter Mary Shelley (1797-1851) and his son-in-law Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822). Many of the most important figures in British cultural history feature in its pages, including Anna Barbauld, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles James Fox, William Hazlitt, Thomas Holcroft, Elizabeth Inchbald, Charles and Mary Lamb, Mary Robinson, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, William Wordsworth, and many others.
[Update: "In early 2012 the website won the annual award for Digital Resources from the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies." congratulations!] 

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