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The Female Philosopher and Her Afterlives

Mary Wollstonecraft, the British Novel, and the Transformations of Feminism, 1796-1811

  • Deborah Weiss

About this book

Introduction

This book argues that the female philosopher, a literary figure brought into existence by Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, embodied the transformations of feminist thought during the transition from the Enlightenment to the Romantic period.  By imagining a series of alternate lives and afterlives for the female philosopher, women authors of the early Romantic period used the resources of the novel to evaluate Wollstonecraft’s ideas and legacy. This book examines how these writers’ opinions converged on such issues as progress, education, and ungendered virtues, and how they diverged on a fundamental question connected to Wollstonecraft’s life and feminist thought:  whether the enlightened, intellectual woman should live according to her own principles, or sacrifice moral autonomy in the interest of pragmatic accommodation to societal expectations.

Keywords

Jane Austen Maria Edgeworth Fiction Mary Hays Women's rights

Authors and affiliations

  • Deborah Weiss
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

Bibliographic information