William Godwin

William Godwin (1756–1836) was an English journalist, political philosopher, and novelist. He is considered one of the first exponents of utilitarianism and the first modern proponent of anarchism. Godwin is most famous for two books that he published within the space of a year: 'An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice', an attack on political institutions, and 'Things as They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams', which attacks aristocratic privilege but also is often considered the first mystery novel.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. The Adventures of Caleb Williams

    The novel revolves around a young man named Caleb Williams who becomes a secretary for a nobleman named Ferdinando Falkland. He soon discovers that his employer is hiding a terrible secret, and when he's wrongfully accused of a crime, he's thrown into prison. The rest of the story follows his escape from prison and his subsequent life on the run, all while trying to prove his innocence and expose the truth about Falkland. The book is a critique of aristocratic privilege, the abuse of power, and the injustices of the legal system.

    The 1526th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Memoirs Of The Author Of A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman

    This book is a posthumous tribute to one of the early advocates for women's rights, penned by her widower. It provides an intimate and detailed account of her life, from her early struggles to her passionate involvement in the political and intellectual movements of her time. The work not only sheds light on her groundbreaking contributions to feminist philosophy but also delves into her personal trials, relationships, and the impact of her ideas on society and future generations. Through this biography, the author aims to preserve the memory and legacy of a pioneering figure whose thoughts and writings challenged the societal norms of her era and laid the groundwork for future debates on gender equality.

    The 3093rd Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Enquiry Concerning Political Justice

    This book is a philosophical work that explores the concept of political justice, arguing against the established political institutions and proposing a society based on reason and justice, where individuals are not coerced by laws but guided by their own sense of morality. The author criticizes institutions like monarchy, aristocracy, and even democracy, while advocating for a form of anarchy where people live in small, self-governing communities. The work is considered a foundational text in anarchist theory.

    The 8235th Greatest Book of All Time