London: Printed for J. Johnson, 1792.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Very Good. Item #003575
8vo (214 x 135 mm). xix , 452 pp. Text block only slightly trimmed preserving several uncut edges. Near contemporary calf, spine with gilt-lettered label and some gilt decoration; boards, board edges and turn-ins tooled in gilt, marbled edges and endpapers (light rubbing of extremities, upper joint split but cords holding). Text crisp and clean throughout, paper flaw at lower blank corner of Ff4 not affecting text. Provenance: Merthyr Guest (armorial bookplate to front pastedown), short pencil inscription to title-page, affixed to the endpapers are newspaper clippings from January 1885 discussing the authenticity of a portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft by William Opie then recently purchased by the National Gallery. Exceptional, wide margined copy. ----
PMM 242; Windle 5. First edition of this early and highly important feminist manifesto, in which Wollstonecraft outlines how the equality of women cannot be achieved due to the lack of education available to them. "She did not attack the institution of marriage or the practice of religion. Instead, she argued for equality of education for both sexes and for state control and co-education. It was a rational plea for a rational basis to the relation between both sexes (...)" (PMM). The work which contains many comparisons with Thomas Paine's Rights of Man (an essay that called for social justice and liberty) is dedicated to Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, who in his report to the French National Assembly had called for the education of girls to be concentrated on more subservient activities. It was to be hoped that A Vindication would cause a re-think in this attitude. However, the proto-feminist efforts of Wollstonecraft were over-shadowed by the revelations of her personal life that appeared in her husband William Godwin's Memoirs of the Author of a Vindication of the Rights of Woman, 1798. Her life, which encompassed several unconventional personal relationships, received more attention than her writing. After two ill-fated affairs, with Henry Fuseli and Gilbert Imlay (by whom she had a daughter, Fanny Imlay), Wollstonecraft married William Godwin, philosopher and one of the forefathers of the anarchist movement. Wollstonecraft died at the age of 38, only ten days after giving birth to her second daughter, leaving behind several unfinished manuscripts. Her daughter Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, later Mary Shelley, the author of "Frankenstein," would become an accomplished writer herself. - Visit our website to see more images!
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