Synopses & Reviews
Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindications stand as classis demands for human self-determination and equality. Written at a time when the issue of the rights of men was violently enacted in the American and French revolutions, and social and political unrest was a growing concern in England, these works argue for the centrality of civil and religious liberties to combat, via education, the tyranny of heirarchical social systems. A Vindication of the Rights of Men is a spirited answer to Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), which voices conservative horror at the overthrow of traditional forms of authority. In A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Wollstonecraft extends and refines her call for rational values to attend the dismantling of ill-founded gradations of rank, and proposes as essential to this process a redefinition of woman as educated, inedependent equal partner of man.
About the Author
Mary Wollstonecraft was born in 1759 and left home in 1778 to make her way as a schoolmistress, governess, and eventually professional writer. Associated with the radical circle of late 18th century Dissenters which included William Godwin and Tom Paine, she wrote two novels but is chiefly known for the much-reviled Vinidications of 1790 and 1792. In 1797 she married William Godwin and died following the birth of their child in August of that year.