Who was Mary Wollstonecraft? Clear Understanding of Philosopher. Connection to Today and Clearly Expressing your Ideas.

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ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mary Wollstonecraft has been called the "mother of feminism." Her book-length essay on women's rights, and especially on women's education, was called “A Vindication of The Rights of Woman,” is an important work for anyone who wants to understand the history of feminism.  Many of women's rights today are because of women like Ms. Wollstonecraft. 

Mary met Captain Gilbert Imlay, an American timber-merchant. She agreed to become his common law wife.   In November 1795, after a four months' visit to Scandinavia as his "wife," she tried to drown herself from Putney Bridge, because Imlay deserted her. She recovered her courage and went to live with William Godwin.  Although both Godwin and Mary abhorred marriage as a form of tyranny, they eventually married due to Mary's pregnancy (March 1797). In August, a daughter Mary (who later became Shelley's wife and the author of “Frankenstein”), was born and on September 10 and Mary Godwin died. Mary Wollstonecraft was a radical in the sense that she wanted to bridge the gap between the human's present circumstances and ultimate perfection. She was a child of the French Revolution and saw a new age of reason.  Mary undertook the task of helping women to achieve a better life, not only for themselves and for their children, but also for their husbands.

enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mary Wollstonecraft  (1759 - 1797) British author, whose most famous work Vindication on the Rights of Women, argued that women were lacking in education and could further the cause of a rational society if they were allowed to pursue one. Her philosophy embraced the spirit of the Age of Reason, where society could prosper by rational action of both men and women.  Her daughter, Mary Shelley, authored Frankenstein.  See more at the links: