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Mary Wollstonecraft   By: (1855-1936)

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Mary Wollstonecraft by Elizabeth Robins Pennell offers a comprehensive and insightful exploration of the life of one of the most influential figures in feminist history. This captivating biography delves deep into the personal experiences and achievements of Mary Wollstonecraft, shedding light on her enduring impact on literature, philosophy, and women's rights.

Pennell's meticulous research and attention to detail are evident throughout the book. She skillfully presents Wollstonecraft's upbringing, highlighting the challenges she faced as a young woman in a society that severely restricted women's freedoms. The author's ability to paint a vivid picture of Wollstonecraft's struggles and triumphs transports readers back in time, allowing them to empathize with her remarkable journey.

One of the book's notable strengths lies in Pennell's exploration of Wollstonecraft's intellectual development. By delving into her written works, including "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman," Pennell reveals the brilliance of Wollstonecraft's ideas and their profound impact on feminist thought. This examination of her evolving philosophies brilliantly showcases the evolution of Wollstonecraft's thinking and the significant changes she made to the prevailing paradigms of her time.

Pennell's portrayal of Wollstonecraft also captures her complex personal life. From her numerous romantic relationships to her role as a mother, the biography offers an intimate glimpse into Wollstonecraft's struggles to balance her personal and professional ambitions. It is through these personal anecdotes and relationships that Pennell humanizes Wollstonecraft, presenting her as a multifaceted individual with her own flaws and vulnerabilities.

While Pennell's work is clearly well-researched and informative, the prose occasionally becomes dense and scholarly, making certain sections feel overly detailed. However, this flaw is a minor one in an otherwise exemplary biography.

Overall, Mary Wollstonecraft by Elizabeth Robins Pennell is a captivating and illuminating account of Wollstonecraft's life and legacy. Pennell's meticulous research, combined with her adept storytelling, make this biography an essential read for anyone interested in the history of feminism. Through her thought-provoking exploration, Pennell successfully highlights the enduring relevance of Wollstonecraft's ideas, cementing her rightful place as a pioneering voice in the fight for gender equality.

First Page:





Copyright, 1884 , BY ROBERTS BROTHERS.



Comparatively little has been written about the life of MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT. The two authorities upon the subject are Godwin and Mr. C. Kegan Paul. In writing the following Biography I have relied chiefly upon the Memoir written by the former, and the Life of Godwin and Prefatory Memoir to the Letters to Imlay of the latter. I have endeavored to supplement the facts recorded in these books by a careful analysis of Mary Wollstonecraft's writings and study of the period in which she lived.

I must here express my thanks to Mr. Garnett, of the British Museum, and to Mr. C. Kegan Paul, for the kind assistance they have given me in my work. To the first named of these gentlemen I am indebted for the loan of a manuscript containing some particulars of Mary Wollstonecraft's last illness which have never yet appeared in print, and to Mr. Paul for the gift, as well as the loan, of several important books.

E. R. P. LONDON, August, 1884.





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