William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft

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Who are Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin? What did William Godwin reveal in the novel, Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman that caused such a scandalous outcry from Mary Wollstonecraft’s readers? Why were these revelations so scandalous to begin with? The following essay will attempt to detail Godwin’s scandal, his reasoning behind the revelations that involved suicide attempts and affairs, as well as the public views and placement of women within the era. This paper will explain much history of all those involved, from Wollstonecraft herself, to Godwin and the British subjects.

Mary Wollstonecraft is the second of seven children. Originally from a family of comfortable wealth, her father squandered their money making them financially unstable. While she was raised in similar fashion to all women of the era, her father’s violent rages caused her to become a maternal protector of her mother and sisters. Wollstonecraft would sleep outside her mother’s room to keep her father from beating her, and in her twenties, she convinced her sister Eliza to leave her husband and child while she suffered postpartum depression, challenging the social norms.

As a woman, her education was lacking, which was the custom for one of female sex, especially one living without financial stability. While she did not receive a formal education, her own desires for knowledge and her talents for translating and reviewing work gave her the opportunity to meet various authors and personalities such as Kant, Pain, and Godwin. Wollstonecraft translated texts as if they were hers, re-writing most of them.

During her time translating texts, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote for the Analytical Review. It was working for the periodical ...

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Works Cited

Baudino, Isabelle, Jacques Carré, and Cécile Révauger.The Invisible Woman: Aspects of Women's Work in Eighteenth-Century Britain. Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2005. Web. February 29th 2012.

Paul, Charles Kegan. William Godwin: his friends and contemporaries, Volume 1. H.S. King, 1876. eBook. March 9th 2012

Tomaselli, Sylvana. "Mary Wollstonecraft", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Web. March 6th 2012 .

Wollstonecraft, Mary. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects. Print.
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