William Godwin, the famous philosopher and novelist, was born in East Anglia in 1756. The son of a Presbyterian minister, he was educated to follow in his father's footsteps, but subsequently lost his faith in God. He then devoted himself to writing, expounding his enlightenment and anarchist ideals in novels and essays. In 1797 he married Mary Wollstonecraft, the famous feminist; their daughter would grow up to be Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. Godwin died in 1836. Isaac Kramnick is the Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government at Cornell where he has taught since 1972.