An Inspiration for Malthus
Enquirer. Reflections on education, manners, and literature. In a series of essays.
London: G.G. and J. Robinson, 1797.
First edition. Octavo. [v], vi-xii, 482, [1, errata] pp. including half-title.
Recent half calf over marbled boards, spine bands ruled in gilt, black morocco gilt spine label. Some light foxing (especially to the first and final leaves). A very good copy.
Goodwin's Enquirer is of chief importance as one of the catalysts behind Malthus' writing his Principle of Population a year after this book's publication. "In all his early life Malthus was brought into close contact with the supporters of radical not to say revolutionary views; and his father was a zealous partisan of the new doctrines... Godwin's Enquirer (1797) was naturally a topic of conversation between father and son; their discussion started a 'general question of the future improvement of society'... and he accordingly wrote and published a book called "An Essay on the Principle of Population" (Palgrave). Godwin replied to Malthus' criticism in his 1820 publication On Population. Godwin's Enquirer is also important for its essay on Public and Private Education. He was married to Mary Wollstonecraft, a pioneer of women's education and mother (with William) of the author of the same name who wrote 'Frankenstein'), in 1797 and during their short time together they discussed children's education endlessly. These discussions formed the basis for many of the essays in this book (e.g. Happiness of Youth, Communication of Knowledge). Kress B.3397. Goldsmiths' 16911.