An Enquiry concerning Political Justice, and its influence on general virtue and happiness.

GODWIN William (1793.)


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First Dublin edition. Two volumes. 8vo. xiii, [23], 411, [1]; [24], 424 pp. With the half titles. Contemporary calf, flat spines panelled with simple blind rules, second and fourth panels lettered in gilt on red and black morocco labels (faint browning to endpapers and occasionally throughout, corners very slightly bumped, light wear to extremities and some faint scuffing to covers, notwithstanding a very good set, unsophisticated in simple but pleasing contemporary bindings). Dublin, Luke White.

The first Dublin edition, published in the same year in as the first edition quarto and octavo editions in London, using the same sheets as the first London octavo edition, but issued with a different title page.

One of the most radical and far-reaching political tracts of the era, by the father of British philosophical radicalism. Published just weeks after the execution of Louis XVI, and written in response to Burke’s Reflections, Godwin’s tract "one of the earliest, the clearest, and most absolute theoretical expositions of socialist and anarchist doctrine" (PMM). It attacks all restraints on the exercise of individual judgement – in the belief that human opinions will become progressively more enlightened with the growth of knowledge. Among Godwin’s targets were established religion and marriage, and he believed that government itself would ultimately become unnecessary. Godwin’s Political Justice directly provoked Thomas Malthus to write his Essay on the Principle of Population (1798).

PMM, 243 (first edition).

Stock Code: 247237

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