View Full Version : Philosophy Wollstonecraft, Mary: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, v1, 3 Jan 2009

01-03-2009, 06:58 AM
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
by Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)

From Wiki:

"A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects (1792), written by the eighteenth-century British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, is one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy. In it, Wollstonecraft responds to the educational and political theorists of the eighteenth century who wanted to deny women 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.

It is a piece of seminal and prominent work in feminist philosophy, and she wrote it when she was 33. Wollstonecraft herself lived an "unconventional" life for her time. She was also the mother of Mary Shelley. She died a few days after giving birth to her, at the age of 38.

The source for this eBook is PG, whose copy-text is identical to the edition published by A. J. Matsell in 1833 (New York). I used this same edition (available from Google Books) for proofreading. Whether this edition is based on the first or second edition of Vindication, I am not sure. According to Wiki, after publication of the first edition, there was immediately a second edition of the book, in which Wollstonecraft:

"took the opportunity not only to fix small spelling and grammar mistakes but also to bolster the feminist claims of her argument. She changed some of her statements regarding female and male difference to reflect a greater equality between the sexes."

I have placed the footnotes at the end of each chapter and created links to them from the text. Again, these footnotes are identical to those in the Matsell edition, and have been checked against them. I note, however, that most other online texts of the Vindication have more footnotes than the Matsell edition. I have not attempted to "modernize" the text, although the PG source seems to have replaced occurrences of "&c." to "etc."

More from Wiki:

Mary Wollstonecraft

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman