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A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – July 3, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0486290362 ISBN-10: 0486290360 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; 2 edition (July 3, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486290360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486290362
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Great Ideas... is the right name for these slim, elegant paperbacks... They are written with precision, force, and care. -- The Wall Street Journal

Penguin Books hopes to provide an economical remedy for time-pressed readers in search of intellectual sustenance. -- USA Today --This text refers to an alternate 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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 27 customer reviews
Interesting and insightful read.
Dee Tuttle
A lot of great questions can be raised as we contemplate how far we have and have not come, and what can or should be done about that. .
E. J. Roberts
It's hard to think that one would read any regency romances without also reading this book.
Robert M. Kaufman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Rehan Dost on 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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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Bingham on 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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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By S. Smeltzer on 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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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Saki on August 3, 2001
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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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. J. Roberts on September 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
It is interesting to teach this book and track how students respond to this book, and how differently male and female students respond to the issues Wollstonecraft raises and discusses. We contextualize the book, and then extract it from its time and place and try to place the issues in our own time and place. A lot of great questions can be raised as we contemplate how far we have and have not come, and what can or should be done about that. . .and who shall do it. It is also an arresting exercise to ask students to apply different literary theories as they discuss this text. The idea is to encourage them to step out of their own shoes and into someone else's as they consider these issues. And it gives great opportunity to ask students to try to separate themselves from their own assumptions and stereotypes about gender and gender behavior, and reassess the issues in Wollstonecraft's time and place, and in light of today's assumptions and stereotypes, which can be harder to quantify than some presume.
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