Mary Wollstonecraft

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

  • 'She is alive and active - we hear her voice and trace her influence even now' Virginia Woolf

    Writing in an age when the call for the rights of man had brought revolution to America and France, Mary Wollstonecraft produced her own declaration of female independence in 1792. Passionate and forthright, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman attacked the prevailing view of docile, decorative femininity, and instead laid out the principles of emancipation: an equal education for girls and boys, an end to prejudice, and for women to become defined by their profession, not their partner. Mary Wollstonecraft's work was received with a mixture of admiration and outrage - one critic called her 'a hyena in petticoats' - yet it established her as the mother of modern feminism.

Mary Wollstonecraft was born in 1759 in Spitalfields, London. After an unsettled childhood, she opened a school following which, her first work, Thoughts on the Education of Daughters, was published in 1787. After a stint as governess in Ireland, she continued to write and published several other works including Mary (1788), A Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790) and her most famous, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). That year she travelled to Paris where she met Gilbert Imlay, by whom she had a daughter, Fanny. Her travels around Scandinavia with her baby daughter in 1795, inspired her travel book Letters Written during a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, but on returning to London Imlay’s neglect drove her to two suicide attempts. In 1797 she married William Godwin, and had a daughter, the future Mary Shelley. Wollstonecraft died of septicaemia shortly after the birth.


Strictly Necessary


Analytics


Preferences & Features


Targeting / Advertising