There are women who throughout history have stood for equal rights and opportunities regardless of gender.
This is the case of the English writer Mary Wollstonecraft. In this article, we will review her life to better understand the aspects that marked her life and what were her contributions to what is now called feminism; we will do it through a brief biography of Mary Wollstonecraft.
Brief biography of Mary Wollstonecraft
Mary wollstonecraft was born in 1759 in the city of London, England. While in their early years this family was in reasonably good financial shape, a series of bad decisions by their father drove them to ruin, which reduced Mary Wollstonecraft’s chances of receiving a significant inheritance in the future. To this was added that his relative was a person who drank regularly and when he did, he physically abused his wife.
Childhood and youth
From her youth, Mary Wollstonecraft was already involved in the pursuit of women’s freedom and equal rights.. In fact, she managed to get her sister, Eliza, to leave a life that was unsatisfying her, starting another away from her husband and son, which earned her rejection from society and her. be condemned to a series of precarious work. For the rest of his life.
Two friendships have marked the life of Mary Wollstonecraft. The first of them was Jane Cremen’s father introduced the two to a scientific and intellectual environment that further aroused Mary’s concerns.. The friendship was so intense that Mary Wollstonecraft even came to consider what she felt was romantic love for Jane Arden, even showing possessive and jealous behaviors with her.
The other person who left his mark on Mary Wollstonecraft was Fanny Blood, with whom he came to develop a common life project, not as a couple, but with mutual support financially and above all emotionally, Something really transgressive for the time in which they lived. However, this plan was truncated because finally by Fanny Blood the traditions and the social norms of their time carried more weight.
However, this was no obstacle to pursuing a solid friendship that would last a lifetime, and in which they even worked together to raise a school. Fanny’s health was still quite delicate, so she traveled with her husband to different places in Europe in search of the best doctors. They eventually settled in Lisbon, where Mary Wollstonecraft moved to be with her friend and give her the care she needed. Unfortunately, Fanny could not overcome her illness and died.
Fanny Blood’s death would be an event that would mark Mary Wollstonecraft for the rest of her life. In fact, the sadness she found herself in is clearly reflected in the plot of the first of the novels she wrote over the next several years. After Fanny’s death, Mary would return to her home country and start a new profession of housekeeper by the distinguished Kingsborough family.
This work allowed her to develop one of her most important works, Reflections on Girls’ Education, as well as another, Original Stories. In both volumes, Mary Wollstonecraft discusses issues of etiquette and morality in great detail, so that they quickly became popular, as middle-class families were very interested in learning as much as possible about the topic.
Mary wollstonecraft decides to quit her teaching profession and devote herself entirely to writing, translating and writing literary works what allowed him an intellectual enrichment which will be reflected later in the future works. Around this time he started a romance with Henry Fuseli, an artist who was already married.
Wollstonecraft proposed a sentimental relationship of what we would today call polyamory, Between the three parties, but Henry’s wife categorically refused, which further meant the end of the romantic relationship between him and Mary. After this disappointment, Mary Wollstonecraft will move to France and publish another of her most remarkable works: The Claim for Human Rights, which will soon follow what is perhaps her masterpiece: The Claim for Human Rights. the man. Wife.
Internship in France and first couple
By the time this book was published, Mary Wollstonecraft was already a figure of equality activism, imbued in addition to the atmosphere of social change that reigned during the time of the French Revolution. so meet the American Gilbert Imlay, with whom he would have his first daughter, Fanny Imlay, So named in honor of his late friend. Shortly after, he will publish another great work on the time in which he lived: A historical and moral vision of the origin of the French Revolution.
At the start of the war between France and England, and being of British nationality, they settled down in the form of marriage, although they were not legally married, in order to avoid possible reprisals for their citizenship. With an increasingly tense situation, they moved to London. However, this family would not last long Gilbert abandoned them for another woman, which led to Mary Wollstonecraft committing suicide poisoning., Hence he was hardly saved.
In later works, Mary spoke of this event as something absolutely rational and premeditated, a logical consequence of the events experienced, and not as a visceral act, the result of despair and resentment. After a brief period during which he attempted to reestablish his relationship with Gilbert Imlay, traveling with him through the Scandinavian countries, the relationship was finally dissolved.
Second couple and death
After the end of their turbulent marriage, Mary Wollstonecraft again focused on her facet of literary authorship, linked to other British authors, among whom she met William Godwin, Which would eventually become his great love. Godwin claimed to have fallen completely in love with Mary while reading her book, Letters Written to Sweden, Norway and Denmark, in which she recounted the pain caused by the end of her relationship with Imlay.
This new love led to Mary Wollstonecraft’s second pregnancy, which caused them to legally formalize the marriage, which revealed that in reality Mary and Gilbert had never really married, which was truly outrageous for such a puritanical society just like eighteenth-century England. Even some friendships came to deny them the word after that, something unthinkable these days.
Months later, the sad death of Mary Wollstonecraft, who it arose due to an infection suffered during the delivery of her second daughter, Mary Shelley (That in its adult life would become a famous writer, author of a multitude of works between which emphasizes its more well-known novel, Frankenstein). It was eleven days of agony, suffering from sepsis from childbirth, until finally Mary Wollstonecraft died.
This dramatic death devastated William Godwin, who claimed that he could never be happy again, after the loss of his beloved. Months later, she would publish Memoirs of the Author of Vindication of Women’s Rights. It was sincere work written from the heart, but it did not free her from controversy, as it brought to light various events that until then were known only to herself and those directly involved. .
For example, it was as a result of this biography that the company discovered that Mary Wollstonecraft’s first daughter was the result of an illegitimate connection, or even that she had attempted suicide. Controversies aside, these writings highlighted the strong personality and values of Wollstonecraft, which would remain for posterity, being today considered a pioneer of the feminist movement.
even though memoirs published by her husband first cast doubt on Mary Wollstonecraft’s reputation, the truth is that they were the trigger that later her figure was made popular by her proposals on women’s rights in a society as conservative as that of Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, being a pioneer in most of these approaches.
Therefore, we could not understand today much of the progress that has been made in the full equality of all citizens if we did not take into account the influence of such important figures as Mary Wollstonecraft, who suffered rejection from society. to make progress for future generations. To serve as a tribute to his figure, therefore, these lines.
- Kelly, G. (1992). Revolutionary Feminism: The Spirit and Career of Mary Wollstonecraft. Palgrave Macmillan.
- Poovey. M. (1985). The Lady and the Woman Writers: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley and Jane Austen. The University of Chicago Press.
- Taylor, B. (2003). Mary Wollstonecraft and the feminist imagination. Cambridge University Press.
- Todd, J. (2014). Mary Wollstonecraft: A Revolutionary Life. Bloomsbury Reader.