William Godwin's Diary


This is the first entry of its kind in the diary and clearly refers to an event of some significance in Godwin’s relationship with Mary Wollstonecraft. Locke and St Clair note the 'chez moi' and 'chez elle' entries from mid-August and argue that Godwin and Wollstonecraft became lovers on 21 August 1796 ('chez moi, toute'). But this July entry, just prior to his return to London, is the first use of ‘Mary’, as well as the first use of ‘chez elle’. The reference is puzzling - unless it is an example of Godwin writing up entries later and mistaking this for another day. Hereafter, 'chez elle' and 'chez moi' refer (usually) to intimate evenings spent together.

See Locke, pp. 120-21 and St Clair, Appendix 1.