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Eighteenth Century and Gothic

The Wrongs of Woman; or Maria
by Mary Wollstonecraft
Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
by William Godwin

Edited by Cynthia Richards

ISBN 0-9679121-6-4

Price $15.25

About the Book
This book represents 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 Woman 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 context 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 crucial 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.
About the Editor
Cynthia Richards (Ph.D. New York University) is Associate Professor of English at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. Director of Women’s Studies, she has authored articles and reviews on eighteenth-century women writers, including Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Hays, and is currently at work on a book-length project entitled Radical Correspondences: Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Contemporaries. Richards is also an award-winning teacher, a recipient of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Innovative Course Design Award in 2002 and a finalist in 1999. She was awarded the Omicron Delta Kappa Excellence in Teaching Award at Wittenberg University in 2000.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Note on the Texts
Select Bibliography
The Wrongs of Woman; or Maria
Author’s Preface
Text of the 1798 Edition
For Further Exploration
Maternal Breastfeeding
From A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
On Reason, Madness, and Folly
On Love and Sensibility
The American: Gilbert Imlay
Employment Opportunities
“Condemned to Labour”: Lower Class Women
“A Something Betwixt and Between”: Middle Class Women
The Feme-Covert: Marriage Laws in the Eighteenth Century
Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
Text of the First Edition
For Further Exploration
Excerpts from Wollstonecraft’s work
An Exercise in Sensibility: From Mary: A Fiction
Wollstonecraft and the Revolution Debate: From Vindication of the Rights of Man
She Speaks of Her Sorrows: From Letters Written During A Short Residence
On Love, Co-habitation, and Fidelity: From An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice
Wollstonecraft’s Death: The Realities of Childbirth in the Late Eighteenth Century
Excerpts from The Emigrants by Gilbert Imlay
Reviews of The Wrongs of Woman
Reviews of The Memoirs
Combined Review of The Wrongs of Woman and Memoirs