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A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects (Modern Library Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Mary Wollstonecraft , Katha Pollitt
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Book Description

(Book Jacket Status: Not Jacketed)

 

Writing just after the French and American revolutions, Mary Wollstonecraft firmly established the demand for women's emancipation in the context of the ever-widening urge for human rights and individual freedom that followed in the wake of these two great upheavals. She thereby opened the richest, most productive vein in feminist thought; and her success can be judged by the fact that her once radical polemic, through the efforts of the innumerable writers and activists she influenced, has become the accepted wisdom of the modern era. The present edition contains a sustantial essay by a major scholar, Barbara Taylor, to celebrate the bicentenary of publication in 1792. 




From the Hardcover edition.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"We hear [Mary Wollstonecraft's] voice and trace her influence even now among the living."


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Book Description

In this passionate reaction to Rousseau's pedagogical work Emile (1762) Wollstonecraft powerfully defends woman's ability to reason, given appropriate education. Her radical prescription was for girls to be educated alongside boys and to the same standard. Originally published in 1792, this is a foundational work of feminist political thought.

Product Details

  • File Size: 517 KB
  • Print Length: 148 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0141018917
  • Publisher: Modern Library; New edition edition (July 9, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003V4BP2E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,069,995 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
(29)
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From a man's point of view June 25, 2006
Format:Paperback
I picked this book up in Boston waiting for my wife to order coffee and was instantly enamoured with the author's prose. At times I wondered if I was reading an essay or poetry.

Regardless, Mary Wollstonecraft summarizes the plight of women very well and the reader ( whether male or female ) gets a palpable sense of it's injustice.

She concludes that since the literate male giants like " Rousseau" bolstered the prevailing thought that men were made to reason and women to feel it is hardly suprising that women were oppressed.

From birth women, in the manor of pets, are trained in refining their "sensibilities" pursuing frivolity in "proper manners and etiquette" and stylish dress to the exclusion of cultural and intellectual development. Her only purpose to marry and become slave to the whim of her man's pleasure . Her drudgery and mindless existence is punctuated only by her childish outbursts. In such a state she is hardly capable of independent living let alone thought and utterly unfit as a mother. This state of affairs not only degrades women but men of reason and society at large since domestic affairs ultimately spill upon the fabric of society.

The baleful consequences of such forced behaviours are a romantic temperment reinforced by reading novels of the day instead of science or history the latter deemed "boring" since the women lack the capacity to understand it. Such women being deprived of intellectual stimulation focus on vanity which further corrupts their soul making them envious, bitter and mean. Any woman who dares to challenge this state of affairs is ostracized almost to the same extent as a woman who has lost her "reputation".

Mary Wollstonecraft writings are rife with social and political commentary which is refreshing. She is particularly critical of the upper class and their perpetuation of oppression.
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have we really progressed? March 8, 2000
Format:Paperback
As I read this book, I find myself comparing the authors examples of the treatment of women by their fathers/husbands with the way women are today treated by the media.
Mary discusses how women are to be kept ignorant of all knowledge and only to be valued for their physical charms (almost every ad on TV/in print). The examples of her contemporaries that she quotes are frighteningly familiar.
Why is this so? Who determines that the education of females is not relevant to society. Sure they are allowed to go to school now, but they are still treated with amazing patronization and condescenscion? The amount of my (intelligent) female friends that insist they are dumb/ignorant/stupid/an idiot is disturbing. Maybe now females are allowed to learn, they should also be allowed self esteem.
I think I got sidetracked. This book is a complex and well written argument for the emancipation and education of women. It is as true today as much as it was 200 years ago. It is, however a slow read as the language is couched in the vocabulary of the late eighteenth century and many of the terms are unfamiliar.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Anthology With Every Angle April 20, 2003
Format:Paperback
This book has Wollstonecraft's A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN and a through Background, Debate and Criticism section. This book gives one everything needed to understand Wollstonecraft's personality strenghths and weaknesses according to authors from her time; a complete debate on the subject of women's rights from multiple authors (from different time periods); and an intense review by serveral other authors (within the last 25 years) on Wollstonecraft's success/failure. Every article in the book has been published independently of this book. This work also contains several journal articles.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FOR STUDENTS WHO HAVE BEEN FORCED TO READ THIS August 3, 2001
By Saki
Format:Paperback
If you need to read this for a college or high school class, or as part of a women's studies project that you are doing for some other purpose, then I'd like to assure you that it won't be all that painful. You may even enjoy it and wish that you'd found this book sooner, all on your own. I was only assigned to read parts of it, but I finished the book by choice.
It's interesting and well writen. Some of the language and nearly all of the issues that are brought up are inflamatory. In class discussions I compared the book to "Fight Club," and was nearly laughed out of the room, but I am at least partly serious. It does have the edge of a social visionary who wanted to shake things up and blow old fashioned society out of the water. No soap bombs, though, but that's only a technicality.
If you have any choice in the matter I would suggest that you choose this book over stuffier works by less forward thinkers. I swear that reading it won't hurt that badly.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Irony is that MW Did Not See Herself as a Feminist February 25, 2010
Format:Paperback
In both the Preface and the Introduction, Wollstonecraft emphasizes what she sees as the root cause of the failure of men to treat women as equals. Men discourage women from achieving the same education that men routinely are given, and as long as women are denied this education, then they can never hope to achieve social and economic parity with men. In her opening remarks to Talleyrand, she is gently optimistic that her powers of persuasion will be sufficient such that he "will not throw my work aside." Her other comments are couched in similar conciliatory terms: "I call upon you, therefore, now to weigh what I have advanced respecting the rights of women."

It is not only the lack of educational opportunity for women that rouses Wollstonecraft's ire. She connects this lack with a general lack of respect to a morality that has become "an empty name." Men cannot acknowledge morality in women unless they can first acquire it in their own persons. The only way, she notes, for men to do both is for them to permit women to have sufficient access to education that will lead women to acquire virtue. Wollstonecraft suggests that virtue in women cannot occur until men respect them enough for women to feel virtuous. As long as men see women as trophy wives, alluring mistresses, and idolized objects of unneeded Renaissance gallantry, then the oppression of women will continue under a paternalistic hand. Wollstonecraft's annoyance clearly is evident when she considers that men have appointed themselves the gender guardian of what is best for women: "Who made man the exclusive judge if women partake with him the gift of reason?" Throughout history, she continues, tyrants of all stripes have been "eager to crush reason; yet always assert that they usurp its throne only to be useful.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Primary Source for Women's History
The price is right for this piece of history. Recommended for those who want to read primary sources instead of textbooks filtered by "experts" who "interpret" the... Read more
Published 23 days ago by Kschimmelwriter
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read - one of the first feminists
This book is simply amazing for the author's thinking on women's rights (and responsibilities). I can't believe that such a forward thinking woman was writing in the 1700s. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Threepence Worth
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not an easy read but it is short and thought provoking
Everyone should read Wollstonecraft. It's not an easy read but it is short and thought provoking.
Published 6 months ago by Jane Austen
5.0 out of 5 stars Early feminism at it's finest
I love this book. It is so well written that the prose in and of itself is a joy to read. The ideas and principles it teaches are timeless. Read more
Published 6 months ago by JulieS
5.0 out of 5 stars Key...
Years ago, Academia established the content, essence & ultimate historical significance of Mary Wollstonecraft's 'A Vindication of the Rights of Woman'. Read more
Published 7 months ago by john fusco
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great transaction. As described.
Published 8 months ago by Mark Thomas
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting and insightful read. Mary Wollstonecraft was the mother of Mary Shelley.
Published 9 months ago by Dee Tuttle
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read on the true woman forerunner to women's rights
Pankhurst of the early 20th century is considered the first woman to stand up for women's right. WRONG. Britain and later America owe its equality for women revolution to Mary. Read more
Published 10 months ago by G. Mello
1.0 out of 5 stars Mehh
Slow to the point of boredom. I would never pick it up again. Call me maybe. But but but but
Published 12 months ago by lee bonaventure
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for young Women/men of all ages
Was a gift for my 11 year old niece she found it easily comprehensible. She told me found a few more people to do more research and write papers on. Even into freshman year lol. Read more
Published 20 months ago by TROYWD22
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