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In this article I explore how William Godwin depicted the social operation of media, and argue that his writing highlights a crosscurrent of alethic thought in Romantic-period Britain. I examine his direct assessments of the social merits of book-reading and conversation, revealing his ambivalence regarding sources of epistemic authority. I argue that he inherited this ambivalence from his Dissenting educational background, most especially the two-fold conception of truth that it negotiated. I thus situate Godwin's scrutiny of media in the alethic dialogue of his time, and offer this context as a helpful perspective upon his wider work.