- Wollstonecraft, Mary
- (1759–1797)English radical and feminist . Largely self-taught, in 1787, after the failure of the nonconformist school she had founded, she published Thoughts on the Education of Daughters . She became a member of a radical group including Paine, Godwin, and the painter Fuseli (1741–1825). In 1796 after a prolonged and unhappy affair with the American Gilbert Imlay, she married William Godwin, by whom she was pregnant, but died ten days after the birth of their daughter Mary (later Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein ). Her most important works were A Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790), an answer to Burke's conservative reaction to the French revolution, and the groundbreaking Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792), a direct challenge to Rousseau's assumptions of feminine inferiority. Her feminism was deeply founded on a radical nonconformist and egalitarian social philosophy; something of her attitude to manly virtue can be inferred from her description of an army corps as a ‘chain of despots, who, submitting and tyrannizing without exercising their reason, become dead weights of vice and folly on the community’. Other works include The Female Reader (1789) and History and Moral View of the Origins and Progress of the French Revolution (1793).
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.