Feminism/Literature/A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
< Feminism
Jump to: navigation, search

Template:Infobox Book

Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) is one of the earliest works of feminist literature or philosophy. In it, Wollstonecraft responds to the educational and political theorists of the eighteenth century who wanted to deny women an education. She argues that women ought to have an education commensurate with their position in society and then proceeds to redefine that position, claiming that women are essential to the nation because they educate its children and because they could be "companions" to their husbands, rather than mere wives. Instead of viewing women as ornaments to society or property to be traded in marriage, Wollstonecraft maintains that they are human beings deserving of the same fundamental rights as men.

Wollstonecraft was prompted to write the Rights of Woman in response to Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord's 1791 report to the French National Assembly which stated that women should only receive a domestic education; she used her commentary on this specific event to launch a broad attack against sexual double standards and to indict men for encouraging women to indulge in excessive emotion. Wollstonecraft wrote the Rights of Woman hurriedly in order to respond directly to ongoing events; she intended to write a more thoughtful second volume, but she died before she was able to complete it.

While Wollstonecraft does call for equality between the sexes in particular areas of life, such as morality, she does not explicitly state that men and women are equal. Her ambiguous statements regarding the equality of the sexes have since made it difficult to classify Wollstonecraft as a modern feminist, particularly since the word and the concept were unavailable to her. Althought it is commonly assumed that the Rights of Woman was hostilely received, this is a modern misconception based on the assumption that Wollstonecraft was as reviled during her lifetime as she became after the publication of William Godwin's Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. The book was actually well-received when it was first published in 1792.

Historical context[edit]

Talleyrand, by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon (detail)

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman was written against the tumultuous background of the French Revolution and the debate that it spawned in Britain. In a lively and sometimes vicious pamphlet war, now referred to as the "Revolution Controversy," British political commentators addressed topics ranging from representative government to human rights to the separation of church and state.[1] Wollstonecraft first entered this fray in 1790 with A Vindication of the Rights of Men, a response to Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), the text which initially sparked this heated six-year printed exchange.[2] In his Reflections, Burke criticizes the view of many British thinkers and writers who had welcomed the early stages of the French Revolution. While they saw the revolution as analogous to Britain's own Glorious Revolution in 1688, which had restricted the powers of the monarchy, Burke argued that the appropriate historical analogy was the English civil war (1642-1651) in which Charles I had been executed in 1649, because he viewed the French Revolution as the violent overthrow of a legitimate government. In Reflections he argues that citizens do not have the right to overthrow their government; because civilization, including governments, is the result of social and political consensus, its traditions cannot be challenged—the result would be endless anarchy. One of the key arguments of Wollstonecraft's Rights of Men, published just six weeks after Burke's Reflections, is that traditions, specifically political traditions, have no authority to confer or deny rights; rights, she argues, should be conferred because they are reasonable and just, regardless of their basis in tradition.[3]


When Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord presented his Rapport sur l'instruction publique (1791) to the National Assembly in France, Wollstonecraft was galvanized to respond. In his recommendations for a national system of education, Talleyrand wrote:

Let us bring up women, not to aspire to advantages which the Constitution denies them, but to know and appreciate those which it guarantees them . . . Men are destined to live on the stage of the world. A public education suits them: it early places before their eyes all the scenes of life: only the proportions are different. The paternal home is better for the education of women; they have less need to learn to deal with the interests of others, than to accustom themselves to a calm and secluded life.[4]

Olympe de Gouge

Wollstonecraft dedicated Rights of Woman to Talleyrand: "Having read with great pleasure a pamphlet which you have lately published, I dedicate this volume to you; to induce you to reconsider the subject, and maturely weigh what I have advanced respecting the rights of woman and national education."[5] That same year, French feminist Olympe de Gouge published her Rights of Woman, and the question of women's rights became a live one in both France and Britain.[6]

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is an extension of Wollstonecraft's arguments in the Rights of Men. In the Rights of Men, as the title suggests, she is concerned with the rights of particular men (eighteenth-century British men) while in the Rights of Woman, she is concerned with the rights afforded to "woman," a more abstract category. She does not isolate her argument to eighteenth-century women or British women. The first chapter of the Rights of Woman addresses the issue of natural rights and asks who has those inalienable rights and on what grounds. She answers that since natural rights are given by God, for one segment of society to deny them to another segment is a sin.[7] The Rights of Woman thus engages not only specific events in France and in Britain but also larger questions raised by political philosophers of the time.

Themes[edit]

Unlike most philosophers of the eighteenth century, Wollstonecraft did not employ the formal argumentation or logical prose style common to philosophical writing when writing her own philosophical works. The text is a long essay that introduces all of its major topics in the opening chapters and then repeatedly returns to them, each time from a different point of view. It also adopts a hybrid tone that combines rational argument with the fervent rhetoric of sensibility.[8]

In the eighteenth century, "sensibility" was a physical phenonemon that came to be attached to set of moral beliefs. Physicians and anatomists argued that the more sensitive, that is, the keener, a person's nerves were, the more affected that person would be by his or her surroundings. Women, who were believed to have finer and keener nerves than men, were therefore believed to be more emotional than men because their nerves forced them to react to a wider variety of situations.[9] The excess of emotion in those with sensitive nerves also theoretically produced an ethic of compassion; those with sensibility could sympathize with the people in pain surrounding them. Thus, historians have credited the discourse of sensibility and those who promoted it with increasing humanitarian efforts in the eighteenth century such the alleviation of the sufferings of the poor and the abolition of the slave trade.[10] But sensibility also paralzyed those who were afflicted with too much; as G. J. Barker-Benfield, a scholar of sensibility explains, "an innate refinement of nerves was also identifiable with greater suffering, with weakness, and a susceptibility to disorder.”[11]

But, at the end of the eighteenth century, when Wollstonecraft was writing the Vindication of the Rights of Woman, sensibility was coming under a sustained attack.[12] Sensibility, which had initially seemed to draw individuals together through sympathy, had become "profoundly separatist" and the writings associated with its asserted the individual rights, "sexual freedom and unfamilial relationships" based upon feeling.[13] Furthermore, as Janet Todd, another scholar of sensibility argues, “to many in Britain the cult of sensibility seemed to have feminized the nation, given women undue prominence, and emasculated men.”[14]

Rational education[edit]

One of Wollstonecraft's central arguments in the Vindication of the Rights of Woman is that women should be educated rationally in order to give them the opportunity to contribute to society. In the eighteenth century, it was often assumed both by educational philosophers and conduct-book writers, who wrote what one might think of as early self-help books, that women were incapable of rational thought. Women, it was believed, were too emotional and too fragile to be able to think clearly; thus, they were incapable of abstract thought. Wollstonecraft, along with other female reformers such as Catharine Macaulay and Hester Chapone, argued that women were indeed capable of rational thought and deserved to be educated.[15]

Stating in her "Preface" that “my main argument is built on this simple principle, that if [woman] be not prepared by education to become the companion of man, she will stop the progress of knowledge and virtue; for truth must be common to all," Wollstonecraft maintains that society will degenerate without educated women, particularly because mothers are the primary educators of young children.[16] She attributes the problem of uneducated women to men and “a false system of education, gathered from the books written on this subject by men who, consider[ed] females rather as women than human creatures.”[17] Women are capable of rationality; it only appears that they are not (Wollstonecraft describes silly women as "spaniels" and "toys" at one point[18]) because men have refused to educate them and encouraged them to be frivolous.

Wollstonecraft attacks conduct-book writers such as James Fordyce and John Gregory as well as educational philosophers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who argue that a woman does not need a rational education. (Rousseau famously argues in Emile (1762) that women should be educated for the pleasure of men; Wollstonecraft, infuriated by this argument, attacks not only it but also Rousseau himself.) Intent on illustrating the limitations that contemporary educational theory placed upon women, Wollstonecraft writes: "Taught from their infancy that beauty is woman’s sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and, roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison."[19] Wollstonecraft implies that without this damaging ideology, which encourages young women to focus their attention on beauty and outward accomplishments, they could achieve much more. Wives could be the rational "companions" of their husbands and even pursue careers should they so choose: "women might certainly study the art of healing, and by physicians as well as nurses. And midwifery, decency seems to allot to them . . . they might, also, study politics . . . Business of various kinds, they might likewise pursue."[20]

For Wollstonecraft, "the most perfect education" is "an exercise of the understanding as is best calculated to strengthen the body and form the heart. Or, in other words, to enable the individual to attach such habits of virtue as will render it independent.”[21] In addition to her broad philosophical arguments, Wollstonecraft lays out a specific plan for national education to counter Talleyrand's. In Chapter 12, "On National Education," she proposes that all children should be sent to a "country day school" as well as given some education at home "to inspire a love of home and domestic pleasures." She also maintains that schooling should be co-educational, contending that men and women, whose marriages are "the cement of society," should be "educated after the same model."[22]

Feminism[edit]

It is debatable to what extent the Vindication of the Rights of Woman is a feminist text; because definitions of feminist vary, different scholars have come to different conclusions. Wollstonecraft herself would never have referred to her texts as feminist because the words feminist and feminism were not coined until the 1890s.[23] Moreover, there was no feminist movement to speak of during Wollstonecraft's lifetime. In the introduction to her seminal work on Wollstonecraft's thought, Barbara Taylor writes,

Describing [Wollstonecraft's philosophy] as feminist is problematic, and I do it only after much consideration. The label is of course anachronistic . . . Treating Wollstonecraft’s thought as an anticipation of nineteenth and twentieth-century feminist argument has meant sacrificing or distorting some of its key elements. Leading examples of this . . . have been the widespread neglect of her religious beliefs, and the misrepresentation of her as a bourgeois liberal, which together have resulted in the displacement of a religiously inspired utopian radicalism by a secular, class-partisan reformism as alien to Wollstonecraft’s political project as her dream of a divinely promised age of universal happiness is to our own. Even more important however has been the imposition on Wollstonecraft of a heroic-individualist brand of politics utterly at odds with her own ethically driven case for women’s emancipation. Wollstonecraft’s leading ambition for women was that they should attain virtue, and it was to this end that she sought their liberation.[24]

In the Rights of Woman, Wollstonecraft does not make the claim for gender equality using the same arguments or the same language as late nineteenth and twentieth-century feminists later would. For instance, rather than unequivocally stating the men and women are equal, Wollstonecraft contends that men and women are equal in the eyes of God, which means that they are both subject to the same moral law.[25] For Wollstonecraft, men and women are equal in the most important areas of life. While such an idea may not seem revolutionary to twenty-first-century readers, its implications were revolutionary during the eighteenth century; both men and women—not just women—should be modest[26] and should respect the sanctity of marriage.[27] Wollstonecraft's argument exposed the sexual double standard of the late eighteenth century and demanded that men adhere to the same virtues demanded of women.

However, Wollstonecraft's arguments for equality stand in contrast to her statements respecting the superiority of masculine strength and valor.[28] Wollstonecraft famously and ambiguously states:

Let it not be concluded that I wish to invert the order of things; I have already granted, that, from the constitution of their bodies, men seem to be designed by Providence to attain a greater degree of virtue. I speak collectively of the whole sex; but I see not the shadow of a reason to conclude that their virtues should differ in respect to their nature. In fact, how can they, if virtue has only one eternal standard? I must therefore, if I reason consequentially, as strenuously maintain that they have the same simple direction, as that there is a God.[29]

Moreover, as Mary Poovey and other scholars have pointed out, Wollstonecraft calls on men, rather than women, to initiate the social and political changes she outlines in the Rights of Woman. Because women are uneducated, they cannot alter their own situation—men must come to their aid.[30] Wollstonecraft writes at the end of her chapter "Of the Pernicious Effects Which Arise from the Unnatural Distinctions Established in Society":

I then would fain convince reasonable men of the importance of some of my remarks; and prevail on them to weigh dispassionately the whole tenor of my observations. – I appeal to their understandings; and, as a fellow-creature, claim, in the name of my sex, some interest in their hearts. I entreat them to assist to emancipate their companion, to make her a help meet for them! Would men but generously snap our chains, and be content with rational fellowship instead of slavish obedience, they would find us more observant daughters, more affectionate sisters, more faithful wives, more reasonable mothers – in a word, better citizens.[31]

Sensibility[edit]

Mary Wollstonecraft (c.1797) by John Opie

One of Wollstonecraft's most scathing criticisms in Vindication of the Rights of Woman is against false and excessive sensibility, particularly in women. She argues that women who succumb to sensibility are "blown about by every momentary gust of feeling;" because these women are "the prey of their senses," they cannot think rationally.[32] In fact, not only do they do harm to themselves but they also do harm to all of civilization: these are not women who can refine civilization, these are women who will destroy it. But, reason and feeling are not independent for Wollstonecraft; rather, she believes that they should inform each other. For Wollstonecraft, as for the important eighteenth-century philosopher David Hume, the passions underpin all reason.[33]

As part of her argument that women should not be overly influenced by their feelings, Wollstonecraft emphasizes that they should not be constrained by or made slaves to their bodies or their sexual feelings.[34] This particular argument has led many modern feminists to suggest that Wollstonecraft intentionally avoids granting women any sexual desire. Cora Kaplan argues that the "negative and prescriptive assault on female sexuality" is a "leitmotif" of the Rights of Woman.[35]. For example, Wollstonecraft, in describing the ideal companionate marriage, advises her readers "calmly let passion subside into friendshp" after friendship[36] and that “when . . . two virtuous young people marry, it would, perhaps, be happy if some circumstances checked their passion”[37]. According to Wollstonecraft, “love and friendship cannot subsist in the same bosom." [38] As Mary Poovey explains, “Wollstonecraft betrays her fear that female desire might in fact court man’s lascivious and degrading attentions, that the subordinate position women have been given might even be deserved. Until women can transcend their fleshly desires and fleshly forms, they will be hostage to the body.”[39] If women are not interested in sexuality, they cannot be dominated by men. Wollstonecraft worries that women are consumed with "romantic wavering," that is, they are interested only in satisfying their lusts.[40] Because the Rights of Woman completely eliminates sexuality from a woman's life, Kaplan contends, it “expresses a violent antagonism to the sexual" while at the same time "exaggerat[ing] the importance of the sensual in the everyday life of women." Wollstonecraft was so determined to wipe sexuality from her picture of the ideal woman, she ended up foregrounding it insisting upon its absence.[41] But as Kaplan and others have remarked, Wollstonecraft may have been forced to make this sacrifice: "it is important to remember that the notion of woman as politically enabled and independent [was during the eighteenth century] fatally linked to the unrestrained and vicious exercise of her sexuality."[42]

Republicanism[edit]

Claudia Johnson, a prominent Wollstonecraft scholar, has called the Vindication of the Rights of Woman "a republican manifesto."[43] Johnson contends that Wollstonecraft is hearkening back to the commonwealth tradition of the seventeenth century and attempting to reestablish a republican ethos. In Wollstonecraft's version, there would be strong, but distinct, masculine and feminine roles for citizens.[44] According to Johnson, Wollstonecraft "denounces the collapse of proper sexual distinction as the leading feature of her age, and as the grievous consequence of sentimentality itself. The problem undermining society in her view is feminized men."[45] If men feel free to adopt both the masculine position and the sentimental feminine position, she argues, women have no position open to them in society.[46] Johnson therefore sees Wollstonecraft as a critic of the "masculinization of sensitivity" in such works as Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France.[47]

In the Rights of Woman Wollstonecraft adheres to a version of republicanism that advocates for the eventual overthrow of all titles, including the monarchy. She also briefly suggests that all men and women should be represented in government. But the bulk of her “political criticism,” as Chris Jones, a Wollstonecraft scholar, explains, “is couched predominantly in terms of morality.”[48] Her definition of virtue focuses on the individual’s happiness rather than, for example, the good of the entire society.[49] This is reflected in her explanation of natural rights. Because rights ultimately proceed from God, Wollstonecraft outlines the duties incumbant upon each person that are tied to those rights in individualistic language. But it also true that for Wollstonecraft, the individual is educated into republicanism and benevolence within the family; domestic relations and familial ties are crucial to her understanding of social cohesion and patriotism.[50]

Class[edit]

In many ways the Vindication of the Rights of Woman is inflected by a bourgeois view of the world. Wollstonecraft addresses her text to the middle-class, which she calls the "most natural state;" she also frequently praises modesty and industry, virtues which, at the time, were associated with the middle-class.[51] From her position as a middle-class writer arguing for a middle-class ethos, Wollstonecraft also attacks the wealthy, criticizing them using the same arguments she employs against women. She points out the "false-refinement, immorality, and vanity" of the rich, calling them "weak, artificial beings, raised above the common wants and affections of their race, in a premature unnatural manner [who] undermine the very foundation of virtue, and spread corruption through the whole mass of society."[52]

But Wollstonecraft's criticisms of the wealthy do not reflect a particular sympathy for the poor, or a modern socialist sensibility. For her, the poor are lucky because they will never be trapped by the snares of wealth: “Happy is it when people have the cares of life to struggle with; for these struggles prevent their becoming a prey to enervating vices, merely from idleness!”[53] Moreover, she contends that charity only results in negative consequences because, as Jones puts it, she “sees it as sustaining an unequal society while giving the appearance of virtue to the rich.”[54] Yet in her national plan for education, she retains the class differences that lead to that inequality, suggesting that, after the age of nine, the poor be separated from the rich and taught in a different school.[55]

Rhetoric and style[edit]

In attempting to navigate the cultural expectations of female writers and the generic conventions of political and philosophical discourse, Wollstonecraft, as she does throughout her oeuvre, constructs a unique blend of masculine and feminine styles in the Vindication of the Rights of Woman.[56] She utilizes the language of philosophy, referring to her work as a "treatise" with "arguments" and "principles."[57] But Wollstonecraft also uses a very personal tone, employing "I" and "you", dashes and exclamation marks, and "autobiographical references" to create a distinctly feminine voice in the text.[58] The Rights of Woman further hybridizes its genre by weaving together elements of the conduct book, the short essay and the novel, genres often associated with women, while at the same time claiming that these genres could be used to discuss philosophical topics such as rights.[59]

Although Wollstonecraft argues against excessive sensibility, the rhetoric of the Rights of Woman is at times heated and attempts to provoke the reader. Wollstonecraft herself even comments on this effect. While she claims to write in a plain style so that her ideas will reach the broadest possible audience,[60] she actually combines the plain, rational language of the political treatise with the poetic, passionate language of sensibility in order to demonstrate that one can combine rationality and sensibility in the same self.[citation needed] Wollstonecraft defends her positions not only with reasoned argument but also with ardent rhetoric.

In her efforts to vividly describe the condition of women within society, Wollstonecraft employs several different analogies.[61] She often compares women to slaves, arguing that their ignorance and powerlessness place them in that position. But at the same time, she also compares them to "capricious tyrants" who use cunning and deceit to manipulate the men around them. At one point, she reasons that a woman can become either a slave or tyrant, which she describes as two sides of the same coin.[62] Wollstonecraft also compares women to soldiers; like military men, they are valued only for their appearance. And like the rich, women's "softness" has "debased mankind."[63]

Revision[edit]

When Wollstonecraft revised the Vindication of the Rights of Woman for the second edition, she not only took the opportunity to fix small spelling and grammatical mistakes but also to bolster the feminist claims in her argument.[64] She changed some of her statements regarding female and male difference to reflect a greater equality between the sexes.[65] As Wollstonecraft wrote to her friend William Roscoe upon the completion of the Rights of Woman: "I am dissatisfied with myself for not having done justice to the subject. – Do not suspect me of false modesty – I mean to say that had I allowed myself more time I could have written a better book, in every sense of the word . . . I intend to finish the next volume before I begin to print, for it is not pleasant to have the Devil coming for the conclusion of a sheet fore it is written."[66] Wollstonecraft never wrote the second part to the Rights of Woman, although William Godwin published her "Hints", which were "chiefly designed to have been incorporated in the second part of the Vindication of the Rights of Woman, in the posthumous collection of her works.[67]

Reception[edit]

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman was reviewed positively when it was first published in 1792.[68] Moreover, other writers such as Mary Hays and Mary Robinson specifically alluded to Wollstonecraft's text in their own works. Hays cited the Rights of Woman in her novel Emma Courtney and modeled her female characters after Wollstonecraft's ideal woman.[69] Although female conservatives such as Hannah More excoriated Wollstonecraft personally, they actually shared many of the same values. As Anne Mellor has shown, both More and Wollstonecraft wanted a society founded on “Christian virtues of rational benevolence, honesty, personal virtue, the fulfillment of social duty, thrift, sobriety, and hard work.”[70] During the early 1790s, many writers within British society were engaged in an intense debate regarding the position of women in society. For example, the respected poet and essayist Anna Laetitia Barbauld and Wollstonecraft sparred back and forth; Barbauld published several poems responding to Wollstonecraft’s work and Wollstonecraft commented on them in footnotes to the Rights of Woman.[71]

After Wollstonecraft died in 1797 and her husband William Godwin published his Memoirs of the Author of the Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1798) revealing Wollstonecraft's unorthodox lifestyle, she was vilified. Wollstonecraft’s ideas became associated with her life story and women writers felt that it was dangerous to mention her in their texts. Hays, who had previously been an outspoken advocate for Wollstonecraft and her Rights of Woman, for example, did not include her in the collection of "Illustrious and Celebrated Women" she published in 1803.[72] Maria Edgeworth specifically distances herself from Wollstonecraft in her novel Belinda (1802); she caricatures Wollstonecraft as a radical feminist in the character of Harriet Freke.[73] But, like Jane Austen, she does not reject Wollstonecraft’s ideas. Both Edgeworth and Austen argue that women are crucial to the development of the nation; moreover, they portray women as rational beings who should choose companionate marriage.[74] The negative views towards Wollstonecraft persisted for over a century; in fact, the assumption persists even today that Rights of Woman received hostile reviews.[75]

While the Rights of Woman may have paved the way for feminist arguments, twentieth-century feminists have tended to use Wollstonecraft's life story, rather than her texts, for inspiration;[76] her unorthodox lifestyle convinced them to try new "experiments in living," as Virginia Woolf termed it in her famous essay on Wollstonecraft.[77]

Notes[edit]

  1. On the "Revolution Controversy" see Marilyn Butler, ed., Burke, Paine, Godwin, and the Revolution Controversy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2002).
  2. Wollstonecraft, Mary. The Vindications: The Rights of Men and The Rights of Woman. Eds. D.L. Macdonald and Kathleen Scherf. Toronto: Broadview Literary Texts (1997), 9-10.
  3. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 43-4.
  4. Talleyrand. "Rapport sur l'instruction publique." The Vindications: The Rights of Men and The Rights of Woman. Eds. D.L. Macdonald and Kathleen Scherf. Toronto: Broadview Literary Texts (1997), 394-5.
  5. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 101.
  6. Macdonald and Scherf, "Introduction," 11-12.
  7. Taylor, 105-6.
  8. Kelly, Gary. Revolutionary Feminism: The Mind and Career of Mary Wollstonecraft. London: Macmillan (1992), 110.
  9. Barker-Benfield, G.J. The Culture of Sensibility: Sex and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (1992), 9.
  10. Barker-Benfield, 224.
  11. Barker-Benfield, 9.
  12. Todd, Janet. Sensibility: An introduction. London: Methuen (1986), 144.
  13. Todd, 136.
  14. Todd, 133.
  15. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 169ff.
  16. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 102.
  17. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 109.
  18. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 144.
  19. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 157.
  20. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 286.
  21. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 129.
  22. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, Chapter 12.
  23. Oxford English Dictionary.
  24. Taylor, Barbara. Mary Wollstonecraft and the Feminist Imagination. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2003), 12.
  25. See, for example Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 126, 146.
  26. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 102 and 252.
  27. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 274.
  28. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 110.
  29. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 135.
  30. Poovey, Mary. The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley and Jane Austen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (1984), 79.
  31. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 288.
  32. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 177.
  33. Jones, Chris. “Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindications and their political tradition.” The Cambridge Companion to Mary Wollstonecraft. Ed. Claudia L. Johnson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2002), 46.
  34. See, for example, Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 259-60.
  35. Kaplan, Cora. “Wild Nights: Pleasure/Sexuality/Feminism.” Sea Changes: Essays on Culture and Feminism. London: Verso (1986), 35.
  36. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 249.
  37. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 192.
  38. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 192.
  39. Poovey, 76.
  40. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 194.
  41. Kaplan, 41.
  42. Kaplan, 33.
  43. Johnson, Claudia. Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender, and Sentimentality in the 1790s: Wollstonecraft, Radicliffe, Burney, Austen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (1995), 24.
  44. Johnson, 29.
  45. Johnson, 23.
  46. Johnson, 45.
  47. Johnson, 30.
  48. Jones, 43.
  49. Jones, 43.
  50. Jones, 46 and Vindications, 101-102, for example.
  51. Kelly, 128ff.
  52. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 111.
  53. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 169.
  54. Jones, 45.
  55. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 311.
  56. Kelly, 109.
  57. Kelly, 109.
  58. Kelly, 110.
  59. Kelly, 113-4.
  60. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 111-12.
  61. Kelly, 118ff.
  62. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 158.
  63. Wollstonecraft, Vindications, 165.
  64. Macdonald and Scherf, "Introduction," 23 and Anne K. Mellor, “Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and the women writers of her day.” The Cambridge Companion to Mary Wollstonecraft. Ed. Claudia L. Johnson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2002), 141-2.
  65. Mellor, 141-2.
  66. Wollstonecraft, Mary. The Collected Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft. Ed. Janet Todd. New York: Penguin Books (2003), 193-4.
  67. Macdonald and Scherf, Appendix C.
  68. Janes, R.M. "On the Reception of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman". Journal of the History of Ideas 39 (1978): 293-302.
  69. Mellor, 143-4 and 146.
  70. Mellor, 147.
  71. Mellor, 153.
  72. Mellor, 145.
  73. Mellor, 155.
  74. Mellor, 156.
  75. Janes, 293.
  76. Kaplan, Cora. "Mary Wollstonecraft’s reception and legacies". The Cambridge Companion to Mary Wollstonecraft. Ed. Claudia L. Johnson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2002).
  77. Woolf, Virginia. "The Four Figures". Retrieved on 17 February 2007.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Janes, R.M. "On the Reception of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman". Journal of the History of Ideas 39 (1978): 293-302.
  • Johnson, Claudia L., ed. The Cambridge Companion to Mary Wollstonecraft. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. ISBN 0521789524.
  • Johnson, Claudia L. Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender, and Sentimentality in the 1790s. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. ISBN 0226401847.
  • Kaplan, Cora. “Wild Nights: Pleasure/Sexuality/Feminism.” Sea Changes: Essays on Culture and Feminism. London: Verso, 1986. ISBN 0860911519
  • Kelly, Gary. Revolutionary Feminism: The Mind and Career of Mary Wollstonecraft. New York: St. Martin's, 1992. ISBN 0312129041.
  • Poovey, Mary. The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley and Jane Austen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984. ISBN 0226675289.
  • Sapiro, Virginia. A Vindication of Political Virtue: The Political Theory of Mary Wollstonecraft. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992. ISBN 0226734919.
  • Taylor, Barbara. Mary Wollstonecraft and the Feminist Imagination. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. ISBN 0521661447.
  • Wollstonecraft, Mary. The Complete Works of Mary Wollstonecraft. Ed. Janet Todd and Marilyn Butler. 7 vols. London: William Pickering, 1989. ISBN 0814792251.
  • Wollstonecraft, Mary. The Vindications: The Rights of Men and The Rights of Woman. Eds. D.L. Macdonald and Kathleen Scherf. Toronto: Broadview Literary Texts (1997). ISBN 978-1551110882

External links[edit]