Yesterday, the post I wrote about the Year of Feminist Classics project got some comments and people expressed an interest in taking part in it. I am in no way affiliated to this initiative but I think it is a valuable one to both learn and have the opportunity to discuss texts with like minded individuals.
One of the comments I got was that not all titles might be available in libraries. Since that is probably true, I thought I would put up a link to the first book in the reading list: Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. The whole text, from 1792 is available online at Bartleby.com.
Also, a bit of background on who the author is, from her Wikipedia entry:
Mary Wollstonecraft (pronounced /ˈwʊlstən.krɑːft/; 27 April 1759 – 10 September 1797) was an eighteenth-century British writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights. During her brief career, she wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution, a conduct book, and a children’s book. Wollstonecraft is best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), in which she argues that women are not naturally inferior to men, but appear to be only because they lack education. She suggests that both men and women should be treated as rational beings and imagines a social order founded on reason.
Until the late 20th century, Wollstonecraft’s life, which encompassed several unconventional personal relationships, received more attention than her writing. After two ill-fated affairs, with Henry Fuseli and Gilbert Imlay (by whom she had a daughter, Fanny Imlay), Wollstonecraft married the philosopher William Godwin, one of the forefathers of the anarchist movement. Wollstonecraft died at the age of thirty-eight, ten days after giving birth to her second daughter, leaving behind several unfinished manuscripts. Her daughter Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, later Mary Shelley, would become an accomplished writer herself.
After Wollstonecraft’s death, her widower published a Memoir (1798) of her life, revealing her unorthodox lifestyle, which inadvertently destroyed her reputation for almost a century. However, with the emergence of the feminist movement at the turn of the twentieth century, Wollstonecraft’s advocacy of women’s equality and critiques of conventional femininity became increasingly important. Today Wollstonecraft is regarded as one of the founding feminist philosophers, and feminists often cite both her life and work as important influences.
More about her life and work at the link above.
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