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Mary: A Fiction

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By: (1759-1797)

Eliza, Mary's mother, is obsessed with novels, rarely considers anyone but herself, and favours Mary's brother. She neglects her daughter, who educates herself using only books and the natural world. Ignored by her family, Mary devotes much of her time to charity. When her brother suddenly dies, leaving Mary heir to the family's fortune, her mother finally takes an interest in her; she is taught "accomplishments", such as dancing, that will attract suitors. However, Mary's mother soon sickens and requests on her deathbed that Mary wed Charles, a wealthy man she has never met. Stunned and unable to refuse, Mary agrees. Immediately after the ceremony, Charles departs for the Continent.

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Transcriber's note: The author is Mary Wollstonecraft (1759 1797).

MARY,

A Fiction

L'exercice des plus sublimes vertus éleve et nourrit le génie. ROUSSEAU.

London, Printed for J. Johnson, St. Paul's Church Yard.

MDCCLXXXVIII

ADVERTISEMENT.

In delineating the Heroine of this Fiction, the Author attempts to develop a character different from those generally portrayed. This woman is neither a Clarissa, a Lady G , nor a[A] Sophie. It would be vain to mention the various modifications of these models, as it would to remark, how widely artists wander from nature, when they copy the originals of great masters. They catch the gross parts; but the subtile spirit evaporates; and not having the just ties, affectation disgusts, when grace was expected to charm.

Those compositions only have power to delight, and carry us willing captives, where the soul of the author is exhibited, and animates the hidden springs. Lost in a pleasing enthusiasm, they live in the scenes they represent; and do not measure their steps in a beaten track, solicitous to gather expected flowers, and bind them in a wreath, according to the prescribed rules of art... Continue reading book >>


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