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Mary, a Fiction and the Wrongs of Woman, or Maria

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Landmark novel by an early pioneer of women's rights In this classic feminist text, the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman expresses her egalitarian social philosophy in the form of fiction. This story of a woman imprisoned in an asylum by her abusive husband offers a powerful indictment of women's lowly status in eighteenth-century England. Landmark novel by an early pioneer of women's rights In this classic feminist text, the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman expresses her egalitarian social philosophy in the form of fiction. This story of a woman imprisoned in an asylum by her abusive husband offers a powerful indictment of women's lowly status in eighteenth-century England.


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Landmark novel by an early pioneer of women's rights In this classic feminist text, the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman expresses her egalitarian social philosophy in the form of fiction. This story of a woman imprisoned in an asylum by her abusive husband offers a powerful indictment of women's lowly status in eighteenth-century England. Landmark novel by an early pioneer of women's rights In this classic feminist text, the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman expresses her egalitarian social philosophy in the form of fiction. This story of a woman imprisoned in an asylum by her abusive husband offers a powerful indictment of women's lowly status in eighteenth-century England.

30 review for Mary, a Fiction and the Wrongs of Woman, or Maria

  1. 5 out of 5

    Warwick

    Perhaps the most striking thing about the two novellas collected here is the gap that exists between them. Mary was published in 1788, The Wrongs of Woman in 1798 – a ten-year lacuna in which everything changed for their author. When Mary came out, Mary Wollstonecraft was completely unknown, a struggling writer living alone and with almost no experience of close relationships outside her own family. By the time Wrongs of Woman was published, she had become a famous polemicist and social reformer Perhaps the most striking thing about the two novellas collected here is the gap that exists between them. Mary was published in 1788, The Wrongs of Woman in 1798 – a ten-year lacuna in which everything changed for their author. When Mary came out, Mary Wollstonecraft was completely unknown, a struggling writer living alone and with almost no experience of close relationships outside her own family. By the time Wrongs of Woman was published, she had become a famous polemicist and social reformer, been closely involved with three different men, moved to Revolutionary Paris and back again, given birth to two daughters (one out of wedlock), and – not the least significant development – had died. It was a busy time for her. Given all that, you expect to see a big development in ideas and style from one to the next – and you do. Mary is a slim philosophical fable about a woman stuck in an unhappy marriage. The set-up shows that Wollstonecraft was already concerned about the undesirability of marriage for women, though we see almost nothing of Mary's actual husband in the story, only hearing that ‘the sound of his name made her turn sick’. The focus is more on Mary's internal development, as she educates herself and struggles with her feelings for another man. There is a lot of high-flown ‘sensibility’ in Mary, often with a rather Gothic overtone of melodrama (‘Shall I ever feel joy? Do all suffer like me?…I weep, a solitary wretch, and the hot tears scald my cheeks’, and so forth). Much of this intensity has a religious colouring, to do with looking forward to when the Lord Omnipotent will reign and wipe the tearful eye. Overall the story is not without interest for those curious about Wollstonecraft's development, but is otherwise a bit sick-making for modern tastes. The year after Mary came out, the French Revolution happened, kick-starting Wollstonecraft's political engagement – first with the Vindication of the Rights of Men in 1790, and then more explosively with the Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792. At the end of that amazing book, she promised to write a follow-up detailing the legal obstacles that women faced in England. This was never actually completed in essay form, but you could certainly see The Wrongs of Woman as a fictional treatment of that subject. So the Wrongs of Woman is to be considered as mirroring the Rights of Woman. Again, the set-up shows that it is a novel of ideas rather than of characters or events: the heroine, Maria, is exploited by a husband who marries her for her family's money, tries to pimp her out to friends, and finally has her committed to a madhouse. Along the way she meets several other women who are allowed to tell their own stories, each of them adding further examples of the way women are treated by patriarchal social and legal structures that consider women to be property. The point is hammered home with pleasing directness. We are told of ‘the aggravated ills of life that her sex rendered almost inevitable’; she rails against ‘the institutions of society, which thus enabled men to tyrannize over women’. ‘Was not the world a vast prison, and women born slaves?’ Maria asks herself; and later, ‘Why was I not born a man, or why was I born at all?’ The religiosity of Mary, which was also a major element of the Rights of Woman (an unwelcome one in my view), is mostly absent here. I think the reason religion sits so uneasily with Wollstonecraft's writing is that it offers a kind of hope, and therefore a solution, to the social problems that animate her, by deferring their resolution to the afterlife. This gets in the way of her anger, and I much prefer her when she's righteously angry, which she definitely is throughout The Wrongs of Woman. Above all, it is the situation of married women that is shown to be completely untenable. ‘Marriage had bastilled me for life,’ Maria says at one point (a timely phrasing for the 1790s). The pervasive double standard, by which men were expected to have their little dalliances and women were expected to be faithful and loving, is hacked apart with extreme violence – not least because a woman who leaves her husband, as Maria does, soon finds that she has no legal or social ground to stand on. The situation of a woman separated from her husband, is undoubtedly very different from that of a man who has left his wife. He, with lordly dignity, has shaken off a clog; and the allowing her food and raiment, is thought sufficient to secure his reputation from taint. […] A woman, on the contrary, resigning what is termed her natural protector (though he never was so, but in name) is despised and shunned, for asserting the independence of mind distinctive of a rational being, and spurning at slavery. By the time she wrote this, Wollstonecraft was living with William Godwin. He objected to marriage too, but they did it anyway when she got pregnant with her second child, for the sake of appearances. Much of The Wrongs of Woman takes the form of a letter written by the heroine to educate her daughter about what life is like, and Wollstonecraft must have been thinking a lot about such things as she brought up her first daughter, Fanny, who was only three when Wollstonecraft died. I found it heartbreaking to read some of these passages, knowing that Fanny would grow up to kill herself at 22 because her half-sister Mary (with whom Wollstonecraft was pregnant while writing this) had run off with Shelley. What a mess that family was. But then, these were people struggling with some of the biggest issues of their time, and creating not a few of them. The Wrongs of Woman, though left unfinished at Wollstonecraft's death, is a worthy successor to the Rights of Woman, and makes you feel the raw frustration and fury that is the appropriate response to the inequalities she was targeting. Nowadays we're fortunate enough to be able to treat these things as intellectual or literary themes, but for her they were life and death.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    I had the sense that Wollstonecraft was really struggling with writer’s block for this one. After her wonderful inflammatory polemics (A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is especially brilliant) she turned to the ‘sentimental novel’ to popularize her social critiques. Sadly, it doesn’t work. It’s important to note this is an unfinished manuscript – and it shows. Narratives are literally broken off mid-sentence and the whole thing is very disjointed, making for a hard read. Wollstonecraft can cl I had the sense that Wollstonecraft was really struggling with writer’s block for this one. After her wonderful inflammatory polemics (A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is especially brilliant) she turned to the ‘sentimental novel’ to popularize her social critiques. Sadly, it doesn’t work. It’s important to note this is an unfinished manuscript – and it shows. Narratives are literally broken off mid-sentence and the whole thing is very disjointed, making for a hard read. Wollstonecraft can clearly tell a story with powerful rhetoric: there’s one instant where a character gives her backstory which speaks candidly of rape, abortion, and abuse. The story itself is set in a madhouse, centering around a woman who has been wrongly interned by her husband. It stars possibly the first cross-class female friendship, as well as an implied ménage à trois. But this is all undermined by abstract, stilted prose and caricature villains. It would have been more effective as a polemic. I wonder whether this may have influenced Anne Brontë – there are many similarities with The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. That novel is an example of a layered and very human portrait that has the same motive, but is far more effective in its execution.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    Mary Wollstonecraft's work put a basis for feminism. Like I said in my review for A Vindication of the Rights of Womanhe's one of the first feminist philosophers and as such, she's inspiring. However, the reason why the book I just mentioned is her most well known book is quite obvious after reading this. I found it good at some times and rather tedious at others. This book has two stories: Mary is a novel that even the author didn't consider as very good a few years after its publication. While Mary Wollstonecraft's work put a basis for feminism. Like I said in my review for A Vindication of the Rights of Womanhe's one of the first feminist philosophers and as such, she's inspiring. However, the reason why the book I just mentioned is her most well known book is quite obvious after reading this. I found it good at some times and rather tedious at others. This book has two stories: Mary is a novel that even the author didn't consider as very good a few years after its publication. While the story itself is interesting, I found the writing tedious and it just couldn't hold my interest: 2 stars. The Wrongs of Woman is unfortunately unfinished and was published after her death, but that doesn't stop it from being an interesting sequel to her Vindication of the Rights of Woman, especially when you keep in mind that it was written and published in the 18th century and was received with much more harsh criticism at the time. I definitely recommend this one: 4 stars.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Having read Vindication I was rather excited to have found this on the shelves of my local library, particularly since I hadn't realised that she had written non-fiction works on the subject of women's rights. Each of the two stories included reflect Wollstonecraft's views that treatment of the time was far below what it should be and that this has negative influences and effects not just on the women themselves but all those around them, men and women alike. But they also show that women did an Having read Vindication I was rather excited to have found this on the shelves of my local library, particularly since I hadn't realised that she had written non-fiction works on the subject of women's rights. Each of the two stories included reflect Wollstonecraft's views that treatment of the time was far below what it should be and that this has negative influences and effects not just on the women themselves but all those around them, men and women alike. But they also show that women did and do have the power to change things for the better, however much they have to fight to do so. The first story, Mary, shows the successful side of this while the second story, Maria, shows how the opposite can be true. And yet at the end of the second you still have a sense that all may not be totally lost (at least I like to think so anyway). With both you can see Wollstonecraft's own experiences being woven into the stories and the characters adding a certain sense of realism, which in turn stirs the soul all the more.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    “What virtuous woman thought of her feelings?—It was her duty to love and obey the man chosen by her parents and relations, who were qualified by their experience to judge better for her, than she could for herself.” Important? Yes. Enjoyable? Partially, but there is a reason Mary Wollstonecraft is better known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman than for these novels. Mary This felt very young (written at 18 while she was a governess), but with some sweet romantic bits. She draws a clear “What virtuous woman thought of her feelings?—It was her duty to love and obey the man chosen by her parents and relations, who were qualified by their experience to judge better for her, than she could for herself.” Important? Yes. Enjoyable? Partially, but there is a reason Mary Wollstonecraft is better known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman than for these novels. Mary This felt very young (written at 18 while she was a governess), but with some sweet romantic bits. She draws a clear line between marriage, “I will work, she cried, do any thing rather than be a slave.” and romantic love “When passion first enters the heart, it is only a return of affection that is sought after, and every other remembrance and wish is blotted out.” The Wrongs of Woman Sadly, what we have is unfinished due to the author’s death. (I actually found myself wanting to suggest revisions, like cut the heck out of the beginning; nix the flashback and tell the story in chronological order for drama and the suspense of wondering what had happened to her.) I enjoyed the threesome of Maria, her savior Jemima, and new love Darnford, and the latter two had some great lines: Jemima: “I began to consider the rich and poor as natural enemies, and became a thief from principle.” Darnford: “…till the rich will give more than a part of their wealth, till they will give time and attention to the wants of the distressed, never let them boast of charity. Let them open their hearts, and not their purses, and employ their minds in the service, if they are really actuated by humanity; or charitable institutions will always be the prey of the lowest order of knaves.” Some of the writing is beautiful. (I mean, I didn’t realize there were so many ways to say my husband is a worthless dog!) But the intent is clearly to advocate for women’s much-needed rights. “I wish my country to approve of my conduct; but, if laws exist, made by the strong to oppress the weak, I appeal to my own sense of justice, and declare that I will not live with the individual, who has violated every moral obligation which binds man to man.”

  6. 5 out of 5

    Reesha (For the love of Classics)

    I haven’t read anything by Mary Wollstonecraft before. She is famous for her the Vindication of the Rights of Women which was published in 1792. These are two of her short stories about 2 different women. The first one Mary: A Fiction is a story about a girl who didn’t find love in her childhood and seeks to find some in the world during her later years. She searches for humanity and goodness around her but only finds it in nature. The people always disappoint her. She sees death over and over ag I haven’t read anything by Mary Wollstonecraft before. She is famous for her the Vindication of the Rights of Women which was published in 1792. These are two of her short stories about 2 different women. The first one Mary: A Fiction is a story about a girl who didn’t find love in her childhood and seeks to find some in the world during her later years. She searches for humanity and goodness around her but only finds it in nature. The people always disappoint her. She sees death over and over again as it snatches away people she has started to care for. This puts her faith to test. It was an okay read: started out good but dragged out a bit. 3 and a half star to this short story. The second short story was left incomplete by the demise of the author due to complications of childbirth. It was still longer of the two short stories. I liked this second story Maria: The Wrongs of Woman better. It was more put together and the story had a direction. There were some amazing passages in the story and you feel terribly for all that the various women in the book have to suffer. They suffer quietly because there is no law there to protect them. This edition also had a long introduction and explanatory notes which bought forward the background of the stories and the author.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Edel Henry

    "Why was I not born a man, or why was I born at all?" This quote from the end of the first volume or "Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman" seemed a good one for summing up the book. We are introduced to the eponymous character as she finds herself in a lunatic asylum, having been thrown in there by her corrupt husband. Her story is revealed to us through the memoir she has written her daughter (who has been taken away from her and subsequently dies). Through the telling of her own story and that of th "Why was I not born a man, or why was I born at all?" This quote from the end of the first volume or "Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman" seemed a good one for summing up the book. We are introduced to the eponymous character as she finds herself in a lunatic asylum, having been thrown in there by her corrupt husband. Her story is revealed to us through the memoir she has written her daughter (who has been taken away from her and subsequently dies). Through the telling of her own story and that of the nurse Jemima's, Wollstonecraft is highlighting the injustices suffered by women in the eighteenth century. This would have been incredibly controversial at the time as Wollstonecraft pulls no punches at exposing the glaring double standards that were considered commonplace in society at that time. This book was an engrossing read and especially interesting for anyone with an interest in literature of that time. It is disappointing that the story was never finished and the detached sentences garnered from Wollstonecraft's writings hint at what could have been. And WHAT a novel it could have been!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    I had already read the Wrongs of Women (Which I loved and gave 5 stars to) so this review is just for the short story Mary. I thought this was a lovely tragic story about a very lonely woman adrift in her time. The problem with it though was a problem I have with a lot of 18th century English literature in that it felt very disconnected. While the author would often write about what Mary was thinking and her dreams there felt like there was a huge layer between reading the story and what was act I had already read the Wrongs of Women (Which I loved and gave 5 stars to) so this review is just for the short story Mary. I thought this was a lovely tragic story about a very lonely woman adrift in her time. The problem with it though was a problem I have with a lot of 18th century English literature in that it felt very disconnected. While the author would often write about what Mary was thinking and her dreams there felt like there was a huge layer between reading the story and what was actually happening in it. I think this was partly due to the fact there was very little actual dialogue. Even for a lot of the very dramatic scenes it was as if someone was describing it to you after it had happened not like you were their witnessing it first hand with all the emotions that were happening. There were some instances where this was changed and they were usually when people were talking to each other. Of the two stories I felt this was the weakest, the style wasn't as grandiose and the stark social reality not as vivid. Still I am very glad I read it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    saizine

    A fascinating look at a political and philosophal thinker's fiction; also, an interesting look at Mary Wollstonecraft's authorial maturation between her early and late work. Mary: A Fiction is a little clumsy and highly reflective of the contemporary literary tradition, but valuable in comparison to ideas expressed in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. The later, unfinished novel, The Wrongs of Woman is also interesting to read as a "sequel" to Rights of Woman but also a more sophisticated wo A fascinating look at a political and philosophal thinker's fiction; also, an interesting look at Mary Wollstonecraft's authorial maturation between her early and late work. Mary: A Fiction is a little clumsy and highly reflective of the contemporary literary tradition, but valuable in comparison to ideas expressed in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. The later, unfinished novel, The Wrongs of Woman is also interesting to read as a "sequel" to Rights of Woman but also a more sophisticated work overall, incorporating gothic elements. Recommended for anyone interested in Wollstonecraft and her work, but perhaps not for a casual reader looking for a classic novel to try.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    Mary and The Wrongs of Woman are two short stories, with the latter being unfinished. They both revolve around the rights of women during the 18th century and how biased the world is against them. The first story Mary is quite simple and details Mary's woes. She is forced into marriage and has to deal with a large amount of grief and uncertainty. Mary explores many topics but at times is boring and drags. However, once you start reading The Wrongs of Woman (which was written around 10 years after Mary and The Wrongs of Woman are two short stories, with the latter being unfinished. They both revolve around the rights of women during the 18th century and how biased the world is against them. The first story Mary is quite simple and details Mary's woes. She is forced into marriage and has to deal with a large amount of grief and uncertainty. Mary explores many topics but at times is boring and drags. However, once you start reading The Wrongs of Woman (which was written around 10 years after Mary) you realise the improvement in Wollstonecraft's writing. The plot lines are more thought out and the commentary on society is much better intertwined into the storyline. It is such a shame it was never finished and the fact we didn't get to see Wollstonecraft's writing improve further due to her early death. Overall, two interesting short stories from the late 18th century. I am intrigued now to read Wollstonecraft's famous Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Mishap

    Sweet, propaganda in novel form and one of the earliest feminist books around. The sad life of the title character gives Woolstonecraft a chance to visit the ills and repression women faced in society in the 1800s and I love the polemics. A lot of people ignorantly state that good novels shouldn't have political agendas, but fail to see that not having a point of view is also taking a side. I would like to see more writers doing what Wollstonecraft did so long ago and start writing social prote Sweet, propaganda in novel form and one of the earliest feminist books around. The sad life of the title character gives Woolstonecraft a chance to visit the ills and repression women faced in society in the 1800s and I love the polemics. A lot of people ignorantly state that good novels shouldn't have political agendas, but fail to see that not having a point of view is also taking a side. I would like to see more writers doing what Wollstonecraft did so long ago and start writing social protest novels again--make your stories about something you believe in instead of books where characters seem to exist in a vacuum--there's no Iraq war,poverty, etc. Paretsky does this and I think mystery or genre writers can get away with it easier than novels of literat-toor.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tera Pate

    I should probably start this review with a confession. I only read "Maria, or the Wrongs of Women" in this volume. I will probably return to read "Mary," but at the present time I was mostly interested in the second novel in this volume (mainly because who doesn't love a good story about a heroine trapped in a madhouse?) This novel, though a couple hundred years old now, really pulled at my heartstrings. Maria is the product of a bad marriage and a nearly as bad upbringing. Her mother hates her b I should probably start this review with a confession. I only read "Maria, or the Wrongs of Women" in this volume. I will probably return to read "Mary," but at the present time I was mostly interested in the second novel in this volume (mainly because who doesn't love a good story about a heroine trapped in a madhouse?) This novel, though a couple hundred years old now, really pulled at my heartstrings. Maria is the product of a bad marriage and a nearly as bad upbringing. Her mother hates her because she is not the well-beloved heir of the family. Her father is authoritarian. Her husband, though he seemed fine on the surface, is a cheat and a swindler. Even her lover, if the remaining fragments of the novel are to be believed, is not good for her. In short, Maria has it bad. Wollstonecraft, in the novel, is making a clearly polemical point: marriage should not be the only option for women. She rages against the oppressions of man-made laws throughout the text, in a way that is refreshing considering the only literature I had read anywhere near this period was Jane Austen and her deification of the man in the marriage equation. Jane Austen is great, don't get me wrong, but she doesn't exactly portray the plight of the vast majority of women in unhappy marriages. There is more to the story, in other words, than simply living happily ever after at Pemberley. Wollstonecraft provides this missing subject matter. In short, I love a good short classic and especially a proto-feminist one. 5 stars

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    One of my clients gave this to me as a "going away present" because I am abandoning him. He also told me, when I said I was leaving, that he "wasn't surprised," because "most people get tired of working with the poor and want to go do something more lucrative and interesting." When I asked him what had made me think this was a good thing to give me, he said, "because you women always want to read some kind of woman book, about WOMEN!" Then he gave me a twenty minute lecture about Mary Shelley, an One of my clients gave this to me as a "going away present" because I am abandoning him. He also told me, when I said I was leaving, that he "wasn't surprised," because "most people get tired of working with the poor and want to go do something more lucrative and interesting." When I asked him what had made me think this was a good thing to give me, he said, "because you women always want to read some kind of woman book, about WOMEN!" Then he gave me a twenty minute lecture about Mary Shelley, and all her trials and tribulations before and during the writing of Frankenstein, which is, he says arguably, the first science fiction novel. Will I ever read this? Probably not. But I will certainly treasure it, up until the day that I die.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    The first story is Mary: A Fiction and it is about the life of a girl who wishes for someone to love her or show her some kind of affection. It's a depressing story but great nonetheless. The second story is a fragment due to Mary Wollstonecraft's untimely death. It is Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman and boy, is it ever the wrongs of women done by both men and women. It is the story of a woman named Maria who gets thrown into an insane asylum by her libertine husband who is just interested in The first story is Mary: A Fiction and it is about the life of a girl who wishes for someone to love her or show her some kind of affection. It's a depressing story but great nonetheless. The second story is a fragment due to Mary Wollstonecraft's untimely death. It is Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman and boy, is it ever the wrongs of women done by both men and women. It is the story of a woman named Maria who gets thrown into an insane asylum by her libertine husband who is just interested in her inheritance. Quite sad. Along the way she meets many women who have been wronged by the men in their lives (husbands and fathers) and who have to deal with their selfishness since that was what women did in the 1700's.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

    As an early feminist writer, I thought Wollstencraft was rather clever framing her feminist viewpoints within a "gothic" story. If the assertions that gothic novels were mainly women's reading in that time period is true, then she did a good thing by making sure women would read the important things she had to say about their treatment in the story. It's a little rough going at first, but once you begin reading beneath the surface and understand the background to it, it is easier to digest. Woll As an early feminist writer, I thought Wollstencraft was rather clever framing her feminist viewpoints within a "gothic" story. If the assertions that gothic novels were mainly women's reading in that time period is true, then she did a good thing by making sure women would read the important things she had to say about their treatment in the story. It's a little rough going at first, but once you begin reading beneath the surface and understand the background to it, it is easier to digest. Wollstencraft is awesome ...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    "The Wrongs of Woman" is not a good novel. But it's an amazing novel in many ways. It's Wollstonecraft's attempt to incorporate the ideas from the "Vindication" into novel form. The prose are histrionic and overzealous, though I think that is probably intentional for the sake of irony. The novel itself is incomplete, but includes outlines for the remainder, some of which seem to conflict. Overall an extremely fun, and short read. "The Wrongs of Woman" is not a good novel. But it's an amazing novel in many ways. It's Wollstonecraft's attempt to incorporate the ideas from the "Vindication" into novel form. The prose are histrionic and overzealous, though I think that is probably intentional for the sake of irony. The novel itself is incomplete, but includes outlines for the remainder, some of which seem to conflict. Overall an extremely fun, and short read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne Foreman

    Very worth it the read. The Wrongs of Woman is immensely better than Mary. Her writing seems undeveloped and sentimental in Mary. She seems better developed, more thought-out, and much more focused on broad issues not personal issues.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Terri Baker

    This is a very important, protofeminist novel that acts as a fictional extension of Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Wollstonecraft exposes the social and legal institutions that prevented women from agency in the Romantic period. This is a very important, protofeminist novel that acts as a fictional extension of Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Wollstonecraft exposes the social and legal institutions that prevented women from agency in the Romantic period.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elliott Little

    Most of this book was beautifully written and thought provoking, showing a glimpse of early feminism. Though it is a fragment, which causes the end to be rushed and incomplete, for what it is, it's a great read. Most of this book was beautifully written and thought provoking, showing a glimpse of early feminism. Though it is a fragment, which causes the end to be rushed and incomplete, for what it is, it's a great read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    I loved this book. It is semi-autobiographical. Wollstonecraft is progressive even by today's standards. I am intrigued by a mother's legacy and would like to research it further. I loved this book. It is semi-autobiographical. Wollstonecraft is progressive even by today's standards. I am intrigued by a mother's legacy and would like to research it further.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jose Luis Ariza

    Maybe, it is a high three: 3'8 or 3'9. This great novel by one of the iconic writers of feminism, such was Mary Wollstonecraft, gets into the lives of women in the 18th century in London where they were simple objects of transactions for fathers and husbands. She not only leans to some autobiographical fiction since her main characters share her name, but her primary intention was to portray the commonality of these events in the women's lives at that period. She unfolds a fantastic writing with Maybe, it is a high three: 3'8 or 3'9. This great novel by one of the iconic writers of feminism, such was Mary Wollstonecraft, gets into the lives of women in the 18th century in London where they were simple objects of transactions for fathers and husbands. She not only leans to some autobiographical fiction since her main characters share her name, but her primary intention was to portray the commonality of these events in the women's lives at that period. She unfolds a fantastic writing with pure rawness describing the situation of women as she was decided to expose that the 'Wrongs of Women' are not women's fault but systemic in an unreformed society. She also recurs repeatedly to the metaphor of women as slaves throughout the novel. here a fragment: "I was, in fact, born a slave, and chained by infamy to slavery during the whole existence, without having any companions to alleviate it by sympathy, or teach me how to rise above it by their example." Wollstonecrafts is also very critical to the novels of manners due to its effects on the women in her society. Although I am a big fan of this genre, especially Austen's novels, I agree to some extent with her criticism. "When novelists or moralists praise as a virtue, a woman's coldness of constitution, and want of passion; and make her yield to the ardour of her lover out of sheer compassion, or to promote a frigid plan of future comfort, I am disgusted." All in all, it is a great piece of literature. Wollstonecraft wanted to demolish the walls restraining the women of her period with her literature and I don't doubt she did. It is a shame that she couldn't finish the novel depriving us of her outcome, and I am sure it would have been even more pessimistic than the actual one. However, her early death ended up being caused for a good literary reason as well, just to give us her talented daughter, Mary Shelley.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Janez

    Mary Wollstonecraft was one of the first champions of feminism not just in Great Britain, but worldwide. Along with her French counterpart Olympe de Gouges, she exposed the inequality of women who were subjected to the misogynist, chauvinist and patriarchal laws that were, with some regional differences here and there, in effect in ALL European states until the first half of the 20th century. Being a woman in the 18th century was not easy. Woman was married to the person whom she rarely saw befo Mary Wollstonecraft was one of the first champions of feminism not just in Great Britain, but worldwide. Along with her French counterpart Olympe de Gouges, she exposed the inequality of women who were subjected to the misogynist, chauvinist and patriarchal laws that were, with some regional differences here and there, in effect in ALL European states until the first half of the 20th century. Being a woman in the 18th century was not easy. Woman was married to the person whom she rarely saw before the ceremony, by the will of her parents. Afterwards, her dowry and all her potential inherentance became automatically the possession of her husband. She was not a subject in the lawful procedures, or if she was one, it was mostly to her detriment. She couldn't be a guardian of her children, because she was ...a woman. In most of divorce cases she was on the losing side, because she was... a woman. She was just an object in a household, dominated by... a man/husband whom it was her duty to love and OBEY. Naturally such practice then demanded artifice, ruse, dissimulation and in final instance, hypocrisy. And it was no wonder that women were fed up with it. MW was one of the first few and brave forerunners who rose with indignation against the de-humanisation of women. In this volume, the reader is treated to two stories. Mary is a realtively short novel in Rousseauist vein, while Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman is an upright rejection of the servitude women had to endure. MW does exaggerate a lot in Maria, but this only serves to show, to point out and to prove the hardships women had to endure!!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Law

    Mostly to amuse myself I read this straight after Relics by Shaun Hutson, but that's a side note. As you'd expect, the two stories in this volume are decidedly political with lots to say but, unlike a lot of work written to make points, they're both still enjoyable to actually read. The sad thing is that, two hundred plus years since they were written, a lot of the issues are still relevant. The exact laws, in western countries at least, have changed a lot but the basic attitudes are still preva Mostly to amuse myself I read this straight after Relics by Shaun Hutson, but that's a side note. As you'd expect, the two stories in this volume are decidedly political with lots to say but, unlike a lot of work written to make points, they're both still enjoyable to actually read. The sad thing is that, two hundred plus years since they were written, a lot of the issues are still relevant. The exact laws, in western countries at least, have changed a lot but the basic attitudes are still prevalent. if you have an interest in philosophy but, like me, find actual philosophical texts a bit of a slog, this is a good alternative.

  24. 4 out of 5

    G

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Focussed on 'The Wrongs of Women' which is regarded as an unfinished text. Utterly brilliant and well crafted. Regarding the unfinished nature of the tale, in my opinion, it is not u finished- the judge's ruling at the climax acts as a stark and bitter reminder of the realities of being female in a patriarchal society. Perhaps Wollstonecraft was simply unwilling to doom Maria to a life with an abusive and manipulative husband, so regarded the text as unfinished. It is important to remember that Focussed on 'The Wrongs of Women' which is regarded as an unfinished text. Utterly brilliant and well crafted. Regarding the unfinished nature of the tale, in my opinion, it is not u finished- the judge's ruling at the climax acts as a stark and bitter reminder of the realities of being female in a patriarchal society. Perhaps Wollstonecraft was simply unwilling to doom Maria to a life with an abusive and manipulative husband, so regarded the text as unfinished. It is important to remember that this text was posthumously published, and thus the amount of alterations made by Godwin in uncertain.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Wollstonecraft is so vitally important in the history of feminism and social justice and so utterly obnoxious to read. This book contains both Mary, a Fiction and The Wrongs of woman, or Maria. Why did she name her heroines after herself? The footnotes are alternately distracting and helpful, depending on your goals as a reader. It is valuable for the modern reader to realize that the scenarios Wollstonecraft writes are not as far-fetched as they sound to us, and for many women today the only th Wollstonecraft is so vitally important in the history of feminism and social justice and so utterly obnoxious to read. This book contains both Mary, a Fiction and The Wrongs of woman, or Maria. Why did she name her heroines after herself? The footnotes are alternately distracting and helpful, depending on your goals as a reader. It is valuable for the modern reader to realize that the scenarios Wollstonecraft writes are not as far-fetched as they sound to us, and for many women today the only thing that protects them from similar situations is tenuous laws that many would like to change.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ellie Kidger

    I really wish Wollstonecraft could have survived and finished The Wrongs of Woman. Both novellas are unique in their progressiveness, with her ideas and determinations clearly depicted. I enjoyed how the Mary focussed on charity and goodwill, whereas TWofW explores marriage, abuse, and the financial status of women.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Heartbreaking story of amazing women, victims of their time. It is so unfortunate that the author left the book unfinished... I found the language a bit difficult (English is not my 1st language) and I could manage to read 1 or 2 chapters a day, but the effort is definitely worth it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shelby

    Her social critique is much better. Enjoyed some of the Gothic resonances of both tales.

  29. 4 out of 5

    em

    only read "the wrongs of woman" but i'm too lazy to change the listing bye only read "the wrongs of woman" but i'm too lazy to change the listing bye

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bárbara Martins

    *No rating, read for college

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