A Vindication of the Rights of Woman [NOOK Book]

Overview

‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman’ created a scandal in its day, largely, perhaps, because of the unconventional lifestyle of its creator. Today, it is considered the first great manifesto of women’s rights, arguing passionately for the education of women. ‘Vindication,’ written by the 18th-century British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, is one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy. In this passionate reaction to Rousseau's pedagogical work ‘Emile’ (1762) Wollstonecraft powerfully defends woman's ability to reason, given appropriate
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A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

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Overview

‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman’ created a scandal in its day, largely, perhaps, because of the unconventional lifestyle of its creator. Today, it is considered the first great manifesto of women’s rights, arguing passionately for the education of women. ‘Vindication,’ written by the 18th-century British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, is one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy. In this passionate reaction to Rousseau's pedagogical work ‘Emile’ (1762) Wollstonecraft powerfully defends woman's ability to reason, given appropriate education. Her radical prescription was for girls to be educated alongside boys and to the same standard.

This is a foundational work of feminist political thought. In it, Wollstonecraft responds to those educational and political theorists of the 18th century who did not believe women should have an education. She argues that women ought to have an education commensurate with their position in society, claiming that women are essential to the nation because they educate its children and because they could be "companions" to their husbands, rather than mere wives. Instead of viewing women as ornaments to society or property to be traded in marriage, Wollstonecraft maintains that they are human beings deserving of the same fundamental rights as men.

Wollstonecraft was prompted to write the Rights of Woman after reading Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord's 1791 report to the French National Assembly, which stated that women should only receive a domestic education; she used her commentary on this specific event to launch a broad attack against sexual double standards and to indict men for encouraging women to indulge in excessive emotion. Wollstonecraft wrote the Rights of Woman hurriedly to respond directly to ongoing events; she intended to write a more thoughtful second volume but died before completing it.
While Wollstonecraft does call for equality between the sexes in particular areas of life, such as morality, she does not explicitly state that men and women are equal. Her ambiguous statements regarding the equality of the sexes have since made it difficult to classify Wollstonecraft as a modern feminist, particularly since the word and the concept were unavailable to her. Although it is commonly assumed now that the Rights of Woman was unfavourably received, this is a modern misconception based on the belief that Wollstonecraft was as reviled during her lifetime as she became after the publication of William Godwin's Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1798). The Rights of Woman was actually well received when it was first published in 1792. One biographer has called it "perhaps the most original book of [Wollstonecraft's] century".
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940149764945
  • Publisher: Enhanced E-Books
  • Publication date: 7/12/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 136
  • File size: 917 KB

Meet the Author

Mary Wollstonecraft (27 April 1759 – 10 September 1797) was an eighteenth-century English writer, philosopher, and advocate of women's rights. During her brief career, she wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution, a conduct book, and a children's book.

Wollstonecraft is best known for ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman’ (1792), in which she argues that women are not naturally inferior to men, but appear to be only because they lack education. She suggests that both men and women should be treated as rational beings and imagines a social order founded on reason.

Until the late 20th century, Wollstonecraft's life, which encompassed several unconventional personal relationships, received more attention than her writing. After two ill-fated affairs, with Henry Fuseli and Gilbert Imlay (by whom she had a daughter, Fanny Imlay), Wollstonecraft married the philosopher William Godwin, one of the forefathers of the anarchist movement. Wollstonecraft died at the age of thirty-eight, ten days after giving birth to her second daughter, leaving behind several unfinished manuscripts. Her daughter Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin would become an accomplished writer herself, as Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein.
After Wollstonecraft's death, her widower published a ‘Memoir’ (1798) of her life, revealing her unorthodox lifestyle, which inadvertently destroyed her reputation for almost a century. However, with the emergence of the feminist movement at the turn of the twentieth century, Wollstonecraft's advocacy of women's equality and critiques of conventional femininity became increasingly important. Today Wollstonecraft is regarded as one of the founding feminist philosophers, and feminists often cite both her life and work as important influences.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 17 of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2013

    One of my favorite feminists.

    Wollstonecraft presents a brilliant philosophy in all of her work, written in beautiful prose that it pleasing to the eye and engaging for the mind.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    You go girls!

    ?...

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2010

    Worth Reading

    The style is less than captivating, and the frame of reference is a little outdated. Some of the things she advocated for we now take for granted but not all. The author's ideas are still relevant. She spends alot of time talking about the education of women ( we are not just talking about going to school here) and about the concepts of independence, being respected, etc. Some of the things she wrote over 200 years ago could still be considered visionary. Definitely worth reading.

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