Mary and Maria, Matilda: AND Matilda (Penguin Classics) Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

ISBN-13: 978-0140433715
ISBN-10: 0140433716
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for the original edition:

"Every teacher of graduate students in Whitman and American literature in general will wish to have this edition in his university and perhaps home library."
-"American Literature",

From the Back Cover

This volume for the first time brings together three extraordinary works of fiction by Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797), generally recognized as the mother of the feminist movement, and her daughter, Mary Shelley (1797-1851), author of Frankenstein. Wollstonecraft's first novel, Mary (1788), an exploration of an alienated intellectual woman and her struggle against the constraints of a claustrophobic feminine world, was followed by her Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). The posthumously published Maria moves from Wollstonecraft's own experiences to examine the miseries of women of all classes. Matilda (1819), Shelley's second novel, remained unpublished during her lifetime (1797-1851). Its theme of a father's incestuous desire for his daughter was considered provocative and scandalous. Her father, William Godwin, refused to publish it and it remained suppressed for over a century. Janet Todd's introduction links the novels of mother and daughter by their double exploration of self-representation, sexuality, and personal conflict.

Product Details

  • File Size: 666 KB
  • Print Length: 245 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Omnibus Ed edition (December 3, 1992)
  • Publication Date: December 3, 1992
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9N0G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #562,634 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Luc REYNAERT on November 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
The two stories of Mary Wollstonecraft 'Mary' and 'Maria' (the latter unfortunately unfinished) tackle the same problem: the position of women in society. 'But a wife being as much a man's property as his horse, or his ass, she has nothing she can call her own.'

The reactions of their protagonists are diametrically opposed.

Mary's attitude to life is resignation: 'I cannot argue against instincts.' She longs for death, to enter a 'world where there is no giving in marriage.'

Maria, on the contrary, tries to take her destiny in her own hands and hits back: 'I feel that the evils women are subject to endure, degrade them so far below their oppressors as almost to justify their tyranny.'

Both stories show the author's general social preoccupations.

Mary is confronted with hunger, want of education, poverty and misery, but her reaction is melancholic: 'I have been wounded by ingratitude'.

Maria attacks 'the enslaved state of the labouring majority' and 'the evils which arise in society from the despotism of rank and riches.' She appeals for more social justice.

'Maria' is a much stronger work than 'Mary'. It has a better plot and its message is still actual.

'Matilda' was considered too shocking to be published for over a century, because it treats a taboo passion: incest.

It is a powerful portrait of a fatal attraction between a father and his daughter.

It is brilliantly written by an intelligent and very well read author: 'more lovely than a sunbeam, slighter, quicker than the waving plumage of a bird, dazzling as lightning and like it giving day to night, yet mild and faint, that smile came.'

The stories are excellently introduced by Janet Todd.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
When Matilda's dad admits to his daughter that he loves her the world falls apart for them both. How can this be so? Mary Shelley creates a scenario - so similar to aspects of her own childhood - that makes sense of this. The love expressed in this ever-so-ambiguous word is, in this case, the inappropriate form of love. What disappoints me about this is that no-one recovers from this situation, and others continue to be damaged/hurt. Once again, as I've seen in so many other works of fiction, the 'damaged' person is given no chance of recovery, of rising above the disaster.

Mary Shelley is such an interesting person (far more interesting than the popular interpretations of her novel Frankenstein suggest) but to appreciate her, even in part, I believe you need to consider her parents. Her father was William Godwin, perhaps the real originator of anarchism (although I don't think he used that word). He was a firm believer that people acting alone can achieve more and better than is achieved by having them controlled and imposed on by laws and governments. Mary's mother was Mary Wollstonecraft - a champion of equal rights for women. When Mary became pregnant, Mary and William chose to get married - not for themselves - they didn't believe in the institution of marriage - but for the child. Sadly Mary Wollstonecraft died in childbirth and William was left with a new baby (whom he named Mary after her mother) and a slightly older girl, Fanny. All of William's beliefs that people should live their own lives in their own preferred ways was challenged by Mary - especially in her relationship with the poet Percy Bysse Shelley whom she married (hence the name Mary Shelley).

When Mary lost her own baby boy William (named after her father?
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had to read Mary and Matilda for class but I really enjoyed both stories. I didn't have time to read Maria, so I cannot comment on them. It's not a hard read and it's really easy to understand. Mary is semi-hard to follow because she uses "she" and "he" a lot even though she talks about two "shes" at the same time, so it's slightly confusing. I loved the book regardless.
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the book was okay. I had to read it for my college class. But some interesting connections so I have given it three stars.
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