Summary: Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) first achieved fame for her Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), in which she extended the radical idea of the "rights of man" to women and laid the groundwork for modern feminism. Wollstonecraft lived during the time of the French and American revolutions and was a member of a British intellectual circle that included William Blake and Thomas Paine. Yet hers was the only voice audibly raised to assert that women, too, ...show morehad an inalienable right to freedom.
In Maria, Wollstonecraft pursues in fictional form themes set forth in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Her story of a woman incarcerated in a madhouse by her abusive husband dramatizes the effect of English marriage laws, which made women virtually the property of their husbands. Left uncompleted at Wollstonecraft's early death, Maria remains a powerful work of propaganda, a unique picture of women's status in eighteenth-century England.
In an important new introduction to this edition, Anne K. Mellor describes the events of Wollstonecraft's life and the evolution of her ideas as they are reflected in Maria. ...show less
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