BRLSI Big Read: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
Wed 21 February Free – £4.00
11:00 am - 12:00 pm GMT
Mary Wollstonecraft’s unconventional short life overshadowed her writing. She published one fiction and five polemical works – the most famous and contentious of these being A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792. This feminist treatise, received with a mixture of outrage and enthusiasm, was inspired by the fervor and excitement of the French Revolution and the political debates that the events provoked. Widely read in her lifetime, Vindication was largely forgotten after her death – until Wollstonecraft and her radical ideas were rediscovered by feminists in the twentieth century.
1. How did Mary Wollstonecraft’s experiences when growing up help to formulate her ideas in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman?
2. Wollstonecraft later wrote a fiction entitled: The Wrongs of Woman. What are the ‘wrongs’ Wollstonecraft identifies in Vindication?
3. Wollstonecraft greatly admired the ideas of the French philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and especially his insights into childhood and education – but she was incensed by his views on the education of girls and the role of women in society. Why was she so aggrieved?
4. Why does Wollstonecraft address her treatise primarily to ‘women of the middle-class’, whom she describes as in ’the most natural state’?
5. Wollstonecraft’s revolutionary and radical views on women rights were much discussed in her day, but were quickly forgotten after her death. Why did it take so long for her ideas to be seriously reconsidered?
Marie-Louise Luxemburg will lead this discussion; she is a writer and author and former BRLSI convenor for History & Culture. She has frequently spoken at BRLSI on historical or literary subjects.
Big Read is FREE for members and only £4 for non-members; it is helpful to know how many people are coming to the discussion, so please register below if possible.