From: Memoirs of Mary Wolstonecraft, Constable and Co. Limited. London 1928
A Note on the Text
Godwin's Memoirs, first published in January 1798, were attacked by a flood of condemnatory reviews in current periodicals. Influenced, perhaps, by this storm of criticism, Godwin prepared 'The Second Edition, Corrected,' published some months later in the same year. In this more discreet 'Second Edition' Godwin made many changes; eliminating, for instance: the 'frequent intercourse' of Joseph Gascoyne and his family 'with the family of Mary' during their stay near Barkingó 'the acquaintance of the Wollstonecrafts' in Wales with 'the family of a Mr. Allen' --the 'son already adult' of 'Mrs. Dawson of Bath' --Mary's unbelief in 'the doctrine of future punishments' --and other incidents susceptible of misconstruction. Godwin frequently changed the wording, and in two places rewrote several paragraphs. He also inserted additions here and there. My practice in selecting the text has been to use that of the first edition throughout, save in cases where Godwin's revisions add to clarity or correctness.
Wherever the second edition text is substituted, the variant is marked below, Ist ed. All variants without this designation are variants in the second edition.
Passages, phrases or words in the text enclosed between brackets, are added in the second edition. The text of two passages which were entirely re-written for the second edition --Mary's affection for Fuseli, and the mutual influence of Mary and Godwin upon each other --is placed after 'THE END.'
Through the whole course of this delightful book I have adhered religiously to Godwin's idiosyncrasies in spelling, punctuation, and use of capital and small letters. I have put in every superfluous comma, and have gaily allowed him to spell cheerfully, cheerfully, and vice versa, as the fancy seized him. The only feature omitted is the old fashioned 's.'
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