Skip to main content

The Private Lives of Authors: Mary Wollstonecraft

By April 27, 2018Authors

Early Feminism and the Destruction of a Reputation

Mary Wollstonecraft is today probably best known as the mother of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein but during her own lifetime she was a writer in her own right.

Born on 27th April 1759, Mary Wollstonecroft was an early feminist, before the word feminism was coined. A writer, philosopher and advocate of women’s rights, Wollstonecroft wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution and even a children’s book, but she is probably best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, released in 1792.

In A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Wollstonecroft argued that women were not inferior to men, but only appeared to be because they lacked education. The book suggests that in fact both men and women are equal and should both be treated as rational beings, and she imagines a social order founded on reason.

As one of the first people to put forward this opinion, Mary Wollstonecraft was clearly a radical and an important person in the history of women, and feminism. You’d think her name would be burned through history but a memoir of her life ensured she would be forgotten for 100 years.

As her opinions might indicate, Mary Wollstonecraft lived a life that was not exactly conventional. Upon her death her widower William Godwin published a Memoir revealing her unorthodox lifestyle, simultaneously destroying her reputation for a hundred years. Eventually the world would catch up and upon the emergence of the feminist movement, Wollstonecraft’s work would be unearthed again pushing her back into her important place in history.

Leave your vote

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.