This book represents for the first time The Wrongs of Woman; or Maria and Memoirs of the Author of "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" have been published in the same volume, but their history and reception have been inextricably linked since the publication of both in January 1798, less than five months after Mary Wollstonecraft's tragic early death.Designed as the fictional embodiment of Wollstonecraft's notions against patriarchy and for the rational and emotional independence of women, The Wrongs of Women tells the story of Maria, who makes a disastrous marriage and then must undergo confinement in a madhouse for her rebellion against it.Godwin's Memoirs of the Author of "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" honored Wollstonecraft's memory with a frank and detailed account of her life and death, but instead of the profound admiration he hoped to invoke, most contemporary readers felt shock at Wollstonecraft's sexual freedom and an odd mix of pity and wonder at Godwin's willingness to share such details of his wife's life with the world.The College Publishing edition includes an erudite and accessible introduction detailing the changing critical fortunes of both works, and in order to gain an appreciation for the rich cultural contexts of these texts, a selection of contemporary reviews appears in the appendix.In addition, Wollstonecraft and Godwin's other works and, uniquely, Gilbert Imlay's novel The Emigrants, are judiciously excerpted.Short essays throughout the text provide critical background material on such subjects as maternal breastfeeding, Gilbert Imlay, employment opportunities for lower-and middle-class women, marriage laws, and childbirth in the eighteenth century.
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