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Professor Pamela Clemit, MA, MPhil, DPhil (Oxford)

Professor of English

email: p.clemit@qmul.ac.uk

Profile

Pamela Clemit

I took my undergraduate degree and my M. Phil. at Mansfield College, Oxford, and my D. Phil. at St Hugh’s College, Oxford. My doctoral research, supervised by Marilyn Butler and Paul Hamilton, was on the novels of William Godwin and his followers, Charles Brockden Brown, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Godwin’s daughter), and Edward Lytton Bulwer. I spent twenty-five years at Durham University, where I was successively Lecturer, Reader, and Professor. In 1999-2000 I was a member of the inaugural class of Fellows at the New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers (directed by Peter Gay). I have held a three-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2007-10), and I am the recipient of the Keats-Shelley Association of America Distinguished Scholar Award for 2017. I arrived at Queen Mary in 2015.

 

Follow me on Twitter @godwin_lives

Teaching

Undergraduate teaching:

In the 2016-17 academic year, I am teaching on:

ESH 6032: Jane Austen and her Contexts

Postgraduate teaching:

In the 2016-17 academic year, I am teaching on:

ESH 7056: The Godwins and the Shelleys

Research

Research interests:

  • English literature of the late 18th and early 19th centuries
  • The Godwin-Shelley family of writers (Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, Mary Shelley, and Percy Bysshe Shelley), their associates and heirs
  • The 1790s
  • The literature of English religious nonconformity
  • Letters, journals, and autobiographical writings of the late 18th and early 19th centuries
  • Editing and editorial theory
  • The political novel

Recent and On-Going Research

My work is mainly devoted to the two generations of writers and intellectuals influenced by the French Revolution in Britain. I am interested in studying literature alongside history, politics, and philosophy. My principal research project is the Oxford University Press edition of William Godwin's letters, which is being published in six volumes. Godwin knew or corresponded with just about everyone of note on the political left from the era of the French Revolution to the Great Reform Act of 1832: writers, artists, actors, political reformers, journalists, and publishers. The edition is providing authoritative, fully annotated texts of all known surviving letters from Godwin and a selection of previously unpublished letters to him. It will eventually include about 1500 items, of which only a quarter has been published before. Two volumes have been published so far.

I continue to research and publish in other areas of interest. These include the 1790s, the Mary Wollstonecraft diaspora, and the political novel. A relatively new departure is critical study of the letters and journals of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, broadly conceived. 

Publications

Books and Scholarly Editions

  • The Letters of William Godwin, Volume II: 1798-1805 (2014), ed. Pamela Clemit, in The Letters of William Godwin, gen. ed. Pamela Clemit, 6 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011-).
  • The Letters of William Godwin, Volume I: 1778-1797 (2011), ed. Pamela Clemit, in The Letters of William Godwin, gen. ed. Pamela Clemit, 6 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011-).
  • The Cambridge Companion to British Literature of the French Revolution in the 1790s, ed. Pamela Clemit (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).
  • William Godwin, Caleb Williams, ed. Pamela Clemit, World’s Classics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • ‘Life of William Godwin’, Poems, Translations, Uncollected Prose, ed. Pamela Clemit and A. A. Markley, Volume IV of Mary Shelley’s Literary Lives and Other Writings, gen. ed. Nora Crook, 4 vols., Pickering Masters Series (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2002).
  • William Godwin, Memoirs of the Author of a Vindication of the Rights of Woman, ed. Pamela Clemit and Gina Luria Walker, Broadview Literary Texts (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2001).
  • Godwin, ed. Pamela Clemit, Volume I of Lives of the Great Romantics III: Godwin, Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley by Their Contemporaries, gen. ed. John Mullan, 3 vols. (London: Pickering & Chatto, 1999).
  • Matilda, Dramas, Reviews & Essays, Prefaces & Notes, ed. Pamela Clemit, Volume II of Novels and Selected Works of Mary Shelley, gen. ed. Nora Crook with Pamela Clemit, 8 vols., Pickering Masters Series (London: Pickering & Chatto, 1996).
  • Falkner: A Novel, ed. Pamela Clemit, Volume VII of Novels and Selected Works of Mary Shelley, gen. ed. Nora Crook with Pamela Clemit, 8 vols., Pickering Masters Series (London: Pickering & Chatto, 1996).
  • Elizabeth Inchbald, A Simple Story, ed. Pamela Clemit, Penguin Classics (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1996).
  • William Godwin, St Leon: A Tale of the Sixteenth Century, ed. Pamela Clemit, World’s Classics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994).
  • The Godwinian Novel: The Rational Fictions of Godwin, Brockden Brown, Mary Shelley, Oxford English Monograph Series (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993, reprinted, 2001).
  • Educational and Literary Writings, ed. Pamela Clemit, Volume V of Political and Philosophical Writings of William Godwin, gen. ed. Mark Philp, 7 vols., Pickering Masters Series (London: Pickering & Chatto, 1993).
  • Early Novels, ed. Pamela Clemit, Volume II of Collected Novels and Memoirs of William Godwin, gen. ed. Mark Philp, 8 vols., Pickering Masters Series (London: Pickering & Chatto, 1992).
  • Things As They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams, ed. Pamela Clemit, Volume III of Collected Novels and Memoirs of William Godwin, gen. ed. Mark Philp, 8 vols., Pickering Masters Series (London: Pickering & Chatto, 1992). 
  • St Leon: A Tale of the Sixteenth Century, ed. Pamela Clemit, Volume IV of Collected Novels and Memoirs of William Godwin, gen. ed. Mark Philp, 8 vols., Pickering Masters Series (London: Pickering & Chatto, 1992).
  • Fleetwood; or, The New Man of Feeling, ed. Pamela Clemit, Volume V of Collected Novels and Memoirs of William Godwin, gen. ed. Mark Philp, 8 vols., Pickering Masters Series (London: Pickering & Chatto, 1992).
  • Mandeville: A Tale of the Seventeenth Century, ed. Pamela Clemit, Volume VI of Collected Novels and Memoirs of William Godwin, gen. ed. Mark Philp, 8 vols., Pickering Masters Series (London: Pickering & Chatto, 1992).

Selected Book Chapters and Journal Articles

  • ‘Letters and Journals’, in The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism, ed. David Duff (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). In press.
  • ‘Revisiting William Godwin’, in Oxford Handbooks Online: Literature, gen. ed. Colin Burrow (New York: OUP USA, 2015). Online (Paywall).
  •  ‘Godwin’s Citations, 1783-2005: Highest Renown at the Pinnacle of Disfavor’ (with Avner Offer), Nineteenth-Century Prose, 41: 1/2 (Fall 2014), 27-52.
  • ‘Commerce of Luminaries: Eight Holograph Letters between William Godwin and Thomas Wedgwood’, in Godwinian Moments: From the Enlightenment to Romanticism, UCLA Center for Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies/William Andrews Clark Memorial Library Series, ed. Robert M. Maniquis and Victoria Myers (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2011), 261-82.
  • ‘Godwin’s Political Justice’, in The Cambridge Companion to British Literature of the French Revolution in the 1790s, ed. Pamela Clemit (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 86-100.
  • ‘Sociability in Godwin’s Diary: The Case of John King’ (with Jenny McAuley), Bodleian Library Record, 24: 1 (Apr. 2011), 51-6.
  •  ‘Readers Respond to Godwin: Romantic Republicanism in Letters’, European Romantic Review, 20: 5 (Dec. 2009), 699-707.
  • ‘William Godwin’s Juvenile Library’, Charles Lamb Bulletin, NS 147 (July 2009), 90-132.
  • ‘“A Society of their Own”: Four Letters from Laura Tighe Galloni d’Istria to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’, La Questione Romantica, NS 1: 1, Mary Shelley Special Issue in Memory of Betty T. Bennett (June 2009), 95-109. [Also published (2012) as an Electronic Enlightenment born-digital project (http://www.e-enlightenment.com)]
  • ‘Holding Proteus: William Godwin in his Letters’, in Repossessing the Romantic Past, ed. Heather Glen and Paul Hamilton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006; paperback edn., 2010), 98-115. 
  • ‘Charlotte Smith to William and Mary Jane Godwin: Five Holograph Letters’, Keats-Shelley Journal, 55 (2006), 29-40.
  • ‘Self-analysis as Social Critique: The Autobiographical Writings of Godwin and Rousseau’, Romanticism, 11: 2 (Autumn 2005), 161-80.
  • ‘From The Fields of Fancy to Matilda: Mary Shelley’s Changing Conception of her Novella’, in Romanticism: Critical Concepts in Literary and Cultural Studies, ed. Michael O’Neill and Mark Sandy, 4 vols. (London: Routledge, 2005), iii. 221-37; previously published in Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley in her Times, ed. Betty T. Bennett and Stuart Curran (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000; paperback edn., 2003), 64-75.
  •  ‘William Godwin and James Watt’s Copying Machine: Wet-Transfer Copies in the Abinger Papers’, Bodleian Library Record, 18: 5 (Apr. 2005), 532-60.
  • ‘Godwin, Women, and “The Collision of Mind with Mind”’, Wordsworth Circle, 35: 2 (Spring 2004), 72-6.
  • ‘William Godwin’s Papers in the Abinger Deposit: An Unmapped Country’, Bodleian Library Record, 18: 3 (Apr. 2004), 253-63.
  •  ‘Frankenstein and Matilda: The Legacies of Godwin and Wollstonecraft’, in The Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelley, ed. Esther Schor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 26-44.
  • ‘Two Pamphlets on the Regency Crisis by William Godwin’, Enlightenment and Dissent, 20 (2001), 185-248.
  • ‘Two New Pamphlets by William Godwin: A Case of Computer-Assisted Authorship Attribution’ (with David Woolls), Studies in Bibliography, 54 (2001), 265-84.
  • ‘Philosophical Anarchism in the Schoolroom: William Godwin’s Juvenile Library, 1805-25’, Biblion: The Bulletin of the New York Public Library, 9:1/2 (Fall 2000/Spring 2001), 44-70.

Performance

PhD Supervision

I would welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students interested in any of my areas of research, broadly conceived. 

I am currently co-supervising PhD projects on 

  • William Godwin and children’s literature
  • William Godwin’s letters
  • The literary representation of vagrancy in the era of the Old Poor Law (1795-1834)

I have successfully supervised or co-supervised a number of PhD projects at other institutions. These include:

  • Jenny McAuley, ‘Representations of Gothic Abbey Architecture in the Works of Four Romantic-period Authors: Radcliffe, Wordsworth, Scott, Byron’ (Durham University, 2007).
  • David O’Shaughnessy, ‘Theatrical Discourse in the Writings of William Godwin, 1790-1807’ (University of Oxford, 2007).

Public engagement

  • I am collaborating with the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, under the general editorship of Professor Sir David Cannadine, to bring new information about Godwin and his correspondence networks to a wider readership, redefining our sense of the national narrative. The first publication arising from the first phase of this project appeared in April 2016 and others are scheduled for publication later in 2016 into 2017, and beyond.
  • In 2015-16, The Idler magazine, edited by Tom Hodgkinson, ran The Godwin Project, inspired by my work. The Godwin Project aimed to bring Godwin’s life and thought to a wider non-academic audience. Throughout the year, The Idler reprinted extracts from the first two volumes of The Letters of William Godwin, and published regular blog posts by me on Godwin’s philosophy and its relevance to our own times.
  • My work regularly appears in publications for a general audience. Recent pieces include:
    • ‘“A nation in its last moments”: William Godwin’s Visit to Ireland, 1800’ (with Jenny McAuley), History Ireland, 23:4 (July/Aug. 2015), 22-4.
    • ‘Travelling with Godwin: An Editor’s Journey’, Shelley Studies (Annual Bulletin of Japan Shelley Studies Center), 23 (Apr. 2015), 12-14.
  • To find out more about my research and outreach projects, check out my personal website, or follow me on Twitter (@Godwin_lives). I also contribute to other blogs by invitation (e.g. Object Archives, June 2014; Wordsworth Trust, May 2015).
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