🔴”No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.” (A Vindication of the Rights of Men – 1790)
⭕ “Nessun uomo sceglie il male perché è il male; lo scambia solo per la felicità, per il bene che cerca”
Mary Wollstonecraft was born in London on 27 April 1759 and died in 1797
She was an English social philosopher and pioneering advocate of women’s rights, whose book, “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman”, is one of the most important documents in the history of women’s rights.
After an affair with painter Henry Fuseli, whose works deal mainly with supernatural subject-matter (“The Nightmare”), she went to France where she met and fell in love with Gilbert Imlay, an American timber merchant and adventurer.
She soon became pregnant and in 1794 she gave birth to her first child, Fanny, named after her best friend. jour
When Imlay left, he promised he would return to her and Fanny.
The winter of 1794–95 was one of the worst winters in Europe: the extreme cold froze the river Seine making it impossible for ships to bring food and coal to Paris, which led to near-famine conditions. Mary and her daughter Fanny were reduced to desperate circumstances, as well.
Looking for Imlay, she returned to Britain, continuing to refer to herself as ‘Mrs Imlay’, even to her sisters, although they had not married.
Since the American adventurer rejected her, she tried to commit suicide, probably with laudanum, and, then, in a last attempt to win him back , she agreed to go to Scandinavia with their infant daughter and her maid Marguerite in order to retrieve some valuable silver cargo stolen by a Norwegian captain from one of Imlay’s ships
It was a long and dangerous journey: she was a woman travelling alone during a time of war, who, little by little, was realizing that Imlay had no intention of renewing their relationship, particularly after he failed to meet her in Hamburg.
On her return to London, she discovered that Imlay was living with a new woman, an actress, and she attempted suicide for the second time. She went to Putney Bridge and threw herself into the Thames but two passers-by were able to rescue her.
Gradually, Wollstonecraft returned to her literary life, and narrated her travels and thoughts in “Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark”, which draws its material from her journal and the letters written to Imlay This is the last work by Wollstonecraft published during her lifetime.
In 1796 she met William Godwin one of the forefathers of the anarchist movement, to whom she had already been introduced some years earlier. He had read her book based on her voyage and written “If ever there was a book calculated to make a man in love with its author, this appears to me to be the book.”
Their respect for each other soon grew into friendship, and eventually became a passionate love affair.
When Wollstonecraft became pregnant, they decided to marry so that their child would be considered legitimate by society. They moved into two adjoining houses in Somers Town so that they could both retain their independence: they often communicated by notes delivered by servants.
The marriage was happy and stable but brief; Mary died at the age of 38, eleven days after the birth of her second daughter, Mary , who would marry Shelley and become a novelist best known as the author of “Frankenstein”.
Although the delivery had seemed to go well initially, there were complications with the afterbirth, and Mary Wollstonecraft died of placental infection, a common and often fatal occurrence in the eighteenth century.