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Mary Wollstonecraft


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Title: Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft
  • 1759-1797

Brief Biography
  • described as  a "hyena in petticoats"
  • Self-taught
  • Led a troubled life
  • Father was a bully
  • Left home at 19
  • Helped sister escape an abusive husband
  • Suicidal at times
  • Had jobs as governess, translator, literary
    advisor, article writer
  • an iconoclast and a radical
  • argued her whole life for the liberation and
    education of women.
  • observed the Revolution first-hand
  • Wrote Vindication of the Rights of Man in
    rebuttal to Burke
  • Eventually married her long time friend, radical
    William Godwin
  • Lost some credibility with radical friends
  • Mother of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein
  • died in childbirth

Concerning the Revolution
  • A true child of the Revolution
  • saw a new age of reason and benevolence coming
  • desired to bridge the gap between
  • humanitys present circumstance
  • ultimate idealized state of perfection
  • She was a parishioner of minister Richard Price,
    who started the whole debate
  • He praised the French Revolution
  • British people also had the right to overthrow a
    bad king
  • Was personally mad at Burke
  • She saw him as two-faced
  • Burke defended the American Revolution
  • She admired him at that time
  • Attacked Price when he supported the French

Literary Traits and Significance
  • Her ideas concerning the rights of women were
    truly revolutionary
  • The first real feminist
  • Desired to help women not only for their own
    sake, but also for the sake of their children and
  • elevated to the rank of modern heroine in the
  • "lived out" her own theories.
  • Practiced what she preached