Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft - Philosophers, Birthday and Life

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Mary Wollstonecraft's Personal Details

Mary Wollstonecraft was a British writer, philosopher and an advocate of women’s rights

InformationDetail
BirthdayApril 27, 1759
Died onSeptember 10, 1797
NationalityBritish
FamousFeminists, Women's Rights Activists, Intellectuals & Academics, Philosophers, Writers, INFJ
SpousesWilliam Godwin
SiblingsEliza, Everina
ChildrensMary Shelley
Birth PlaceSpitalfields
GenderFemale
FatherEdward John Wollstonecraft
MotherElizabeth Dixon
Sun SignTaurus
Born inSpitalfields
Famous asWriter
Died at Age38

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Mary Wollstonecraft's photo

Who is Mary Wollstonecraft?

Mary Wollstonecraft was a famous, eighteenth-century British writer who is best known for her work, ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Women’. She was brought up in London by an abusive father and left home early in order to pursue a career in writing. She worked as a publisher of radical texts and as a translator, before she became a published author. A staunch Anglican, many of her works were inspired by her experiences at the church. During her brief career, she wrote a couple of novels, treatises, a conduct book and a children’s book. Although she was a feminist, she believed that both men and women should be treated as coherent beings, with a social mandate, instituted on reason. Until the late 20th century, her personal life received a lot more attention than her professional life, due to her various ill-fated relationships and a late marriage. Wife of William Godwin, one of the founding fathers of the anarchist movement, Mary Wollstonecraft’s life has been documented by her husband in ‘Memoir’, which sabotaged her reputation for a long period of time. Know more about her life in this brief biography.

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Childhood & Early Life

Mary Wollstonecraft was the second of seven children born to Edward Wollstonecraft and Elizabeth Dixon. Although the family led a comfortable life when she was a child, they eventually became bankrupt and had to sustain hardships.

Her father often turned violent and got physically abusive with her and her mother. Her mother soon passed away and perturbed by her father’s actions, she moved out of her house to earn her own livelihood in 1780.

Career

In 1784, Wollstonecraft, her sister Eliza and best friend, Fanny, established a school in Newington Green. The school closed down in 1785, when Mary abandoned it to be with Fanny, who had married and was living in Portugal, but was severely ill.

After Fanny's death in 1786, she took up the position as a governess for the Kingsborough family in Ireland, which made her realize that she was not suited for domestic/household work. She finally moved to London and was appointed as a translator to Joseph, Johnson, a publisher of radical texts.

In 1787, drawing from her experiences she wrote ‘Thoughts on the Education of Daughters’ in which she talked about the horror of intelligent women being subject to rich fools.

She became a regular contributor to John’s magazine, ‘Analytical Review’ in 1788.

One of her novels, ‘Mary: A Fiction’ condemned the patriarchal institution of marriage and described its effects on women. It was published in 1788 and became one of her most radical, feminist work.

In 1792, she published her most prominent work, ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Women’, through which she criticized the prevalent belief that women are just household adornments. The ideas presented by her in this book, were clearly revolutionary at the time and caused tremendous controversy.

Apart from her novels, she also wrote a reflective, travel narrative titled ‘Letters Written in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark’, which was published in 1796.

Major Works

‘Mary: A Fiction’ was published in 1788 which received moderate success, but was considered very bold and one of her most radical, feminist works. The book was reprinted in the 1970s and was translated into three languages, in the wake of the second wave of the feminist movement.

In 1792, ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Women’, considered her most important work created a new wave of feminist sentiments. It argued that women ought to have an education commensurate with their position in society and that they should not purely be viewed as an objects of pleasure for men. While this publication attracted a lot of negative publicity at the time, it also received positive reviews and was even translated into French.

‘Letters Written in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark’ was published in 1796 and became one of her most popular books. It received positive reviews from the critics and also influenced poets like William Wordsworth. The first travel narratives of its kind, this publication was one of her last works, but earned her great fame towards the end of the 18th century.

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1792, while visiting a couple of friends in France, she met Captain Gilbert Imlay and they fell in love. She soon became pregnant and gave birth to their child, Fanny, named after her best friend.

In May 1795, she attempted suicide, after facing rejection from Imlay. After two failed suicide attempts she returned to the literary world and soon became involved in a relationship with William Godwin.

She soon became pregnant with Godwin’s child and the duo decided to marry, so that their child would be legitimate. They married on March 29, 1797 and moved into independent houses, where they communicated through letters. It was a brief, but a happy relationship.

On August 30, 1797, she gave birth to Mary Shelley, her second daughter, but developed some uterine complications during childbirth. Wollstonecraft passed away ten days later due to septicemia.

Following her death, Godwin published ‘Memoirs’ narrating her life and works. With the advent of the feminist movement, many budding writers like Emma Goldman and Virgina Woolf, began embracing her ideologies.

Wollstonecraft’s works returned to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s during the second wave of the feminist movement. Six books were published on her life and works which influenced Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a political writer and later, Nobel Laureate, Amartya Sen.

Trivia

This famous author fell in love with the painter, Henry Fuseli, though he was already married. She suggested that the three of them live together to which Fuseli’s wife, quite expectedly, disagreed.

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Mary Wollstonecraft biography timelines

  • // 1780
    Her father often turned violent and got physically abusive with her and her mother. Her mother soon passed away and perturbed by her father’s actions, she moved out of her house to earn her own livelihood in 1780.
  • // 1784 To 1785
    In 1784, Wollstonecraft, her sister Eliza and best friend, Fanny, established a school in Newington Green. The school closed down in 1785, when Mary abandoned it to be with Fanny, who had married and was living in Portugal, but was severely ill.
  • // 1786
    After Fanny's death in 1786, she took up the position as a governess for the Kingsborough family in Ireland, which made her realize that she was not suited for domestic/household work. She finally moved to London and was appointed as a translator to Joseph, Johnson, a publisher of radical texts.
  • // 1787
    In 1787, drawing from her experiences she wrote ‘Thoughts on the Education of Daughters’ in which she talked about the horror of intelligent women being subject to rich fools.
  • // 1788
    She became a regular contributor to John’s magazine, ‘Analytical Review’ in 1788.
  • // 1792
    In 1792, she published her most prominent work, ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Women’, through which she criticized the prevalent belief that women are just household adornments. The ideas presented by her in this book, were clearly revolutionary at the time and caused tremendous controversy.
  • // 1792
    In 1792, while visiting a couple of friends in France, she met Captain Gilbert Imlay and they fell in love. She soon became pregnant and gave birth to their child, Fanny, named after her best friend.
  • // 1795
    In May 1795, she attempted suicide, after facing rejection from Imlay. After two failed suicide attempts she returned to the literary world and soon became involved in a relationship with William Godwin.
  • // 1796
    Apart from her novels, she also wrote a reflective, travel narrative titled ‘Letters Written in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark’, which was published in 1796.
  • // 29th Mar 1797
    She soon became pregnant with Godwin’s child and the duo decided to marry, so that their child would be legitimate. They married on March 29, 1797 and moved into independent houses, where they communicated through letters. It was a brief, but a happy relationship.
  • // 30th Aug 1797
    On August 30, 1797, she gave birth to Mary Shelley, her second daughter, but developed some uterine complications during childbirth. Wollstonecraft passed away ten days later due to septicemia.

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Mary Wollstonecraft's FAQ

  • What is Mary Wollstonecraft birthday?

    Mary Wollstonecraft was born at 1759-04-27

  • When was Mary Wollstonecraft died?

    Mary Wollstonecraft was died at 1797-09-10

  • Where was Mary Wollstonecraft died?

    Mary Wollstonecraft was died in London

  • Which age was Mary Wollstonecraft died?

    Mary Wollstonecraft was died at age 38

  • Where is Mary Wollstonecraft's birth place?

    Mary Wollstonecraft was born in Spitalfields

  • What is Mary Wollstonecraft nationalities?

    Mary Wollstonecraft's nationalities is British

  • Who is Mary Wollstonecraft spouses?

    Mary Wollstonecraft's spouses is William Godwin

  • Who is Mary Wollstonecraft siblings?

    Mary Wollstonecraft's siblings is Eliza, Everina

  • Who is Mary Wollstonecraft childrens?

    Mary Wollstonecraft's childrens is Mary Shelley

  • Who is Mary Wollstonecraft's father?

    Mary Wollstonecraft's father is Edward John Wollstonecraft

  • Who is Mary Wollstonecraft's mother?

    Mary Wollstonecraft's mother is Elizabeth Dixon

  • What is Mary Wollstonecraft's sun sign?

    Mary Wollstonecraft is Taurus

  • How famous is Mary Wollstonecraft?

    Mary Wollstonecraft is famouse as Writer