By McCormick, Thomas James
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Additional info for A partial edition of "Les fais des Rommains"
As Aldis recognized, Godwin supplies details 'of which her traducers have gladly availed themselves, in order to bring general discredit on her memory, as the most effectual mode of counteracting the effect of her labours' (56 (Letter V». More than this, Godwin presents Wollstonecraft's enemies, not just with the material, but with the very method - that of reducing 'theory' to 'practice' - by which she is to be anathematized. In the Sexing the Critic 41 Memoirs, 'philosophy' is seen to be exposed and exploded by 'life'; and the critical response takes a malicious delight in putting jacobin 'ideas' on a 'practical' footing.
22 Clifford Siskin enough - it didn't always quite fit. This is the experience of form we now call the System. Our characteristic reactions to it - which are what define it for us - consist of various combinations of the responses inscribed by Godwin. Well before he treats the specific negatives of Malthus's revised code, he asserts: 'The main and direct moral and lesson of the Essay on Population is passiveness' (144). That passivity could both carry 'accents of despair' and erupt into the activity that Godwin himself pursued: blame.
Samplings from the start of the century (1700-3 to 9) and the middle (1750 - 11 to 59) confirm the significantly higher frequency of essays. The counts only begin to close in the 1780s, moving above 2 to 3 (40 to 57) by 1798, and, in 1799, actually tilting toward system (54 to 53). ESTC, then, points to the rise of system to parity (and better) with essay by the century's close. To get a rough idea of the trend after 1800, I turned to counts from the Harvard Union Catalogue through the Hollis system.