Mary Wollstonecraft: A chapter in the history of radicalism in English literature




Boswell, Cara L.

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One of the martyrs to the cause of liberal thought in the last part of the eighteenth century was a woman whom the literary world seems to have neglected in its appraisal of the value of those whose thinking in the eighteenth century paved the way for the rapid progress of the nineteenth century. Mary Wollstonecraft lived far in advance of her time and advocated theories which today we simply accept as a part of our civilization. Because of her liberal and advanced theories she was looked upon by most of the people of her day with scorn and spoken of with obloquy; consequently, she paid the penalty which all pioneers must pay. In this study I have endeavored to show through a study of Miss Wollstonecraft 's own works the extent of her liberalism as brought out in her ideas of education, politics, and other aspects of t he social problem, including the position of women. Furthermore, I have endeavored to show that her liberalism was not the result of her association with the Radical Group, but rather that she found her place in this group because of her revolutionary thought . Miss Wollstonecraft did not live to complete her works; therefore, we do not have the fruits of a mind which had just reached the maturity of development .


Mary Wollstonecraft, English literature, Radicalism in literature