Maria Or The Wrongs Of Woman
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About the Author
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) was an English writer, philosopher, and feminist. Born in London, Wollstonecraft was raised in a financially unstable family. As a young woman, she became friends with Jane Arden, an intellectual and socialite, and Fanny Blood, a talented illustrator and passionate educator. After several years on her own, Wollstonecraft returned home in 1780 to care for her dying mother, after which she moved in with the Blood family and began planning live independently with Fanny. Their plan proved financially impossible, however, and Fanny soon married and moved to Portugal, where, in 1785, she died from complications of pregnancy. This inspired Wollstonecraft's first novel, Mary: A Fiction (1788), launching her career as one of eighteenth-century England's leading literary voices. In 1790, in response to Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), Wollstonecraft wrote Vindication of the Rights of Men, a political pamphlet defending the cause of the French Revolution, advocating for republicanism, and illustrating the ideals of England's emerging middle class. Following the success of her pamphlet, Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), a groundbreaking work of political philosophy and an early feminist text that argues for the education of women as well as for the need to recognize them as rational, independent beings. The same year, Wollstonecraft travelled to France, where she lived for a year while moving in Girondist circles and observing the changes enacted by the newly established National Assembly. In 1793, she was forced to leave France as the Jacobins rose to power, executing many of Wollstonecraft's friends and colleagues and expelling foreigners from the country. In 1797, she married the novelist and anarchist philosopher William Godwin, with whom she bore her daughter Mary, who would eventually write the novel Frankenstein (1818). Several days afterward, however, Wollstonecraft died at the age of 38 from septicemia, leaving a legacy as a pioneering feminist and unparalleled figure in English literature.