Woman of the Day: Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)
Mary Wollstonecraft lived the philosophical, feminist liberation she wrote about. She was disregarded by many in her day due to her extramarital affairs and her illegitimate daughter. However, a century after her death, she was finally recognized for her moral and political writing and took her place beside her other daughter, Mary Shelley, in the pantheon of female literary greats. Wollstonecraft’s first book, “A Vindication of the Rights of Men”, was her response to the French Revolution. In it, she refuted the concept of monarchy and called instead for a republican nation. She was also frustrated at depictions of women as passive vessels in a male-dominated world, and her second book, “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman”, became her best-known work. The book has since become recognized as one of the most important works of the Enlightenment.