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Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

At the age of 15, Wollstonecraft announced that she would never marry.20

As a girl, Wollstonecraft would sleep in front of her mother's bedroom door to prevent her father from beating her mother.21

Despite the fact that she had dabbled in novel writing herself, in her reviews Wollstonecraft echoed the 18th century worry that novel-reading was a frivolous hobby that deadened the intellect and loosened morals.22

Wollstonecraft had feminist fans across the Atlantic. John Adams used to teasingly call his wife Abigail a "Disciple of Wollstonecraft."23

Though William Godwin had been an outspoken opponent of marriage, ironically he refused to see his daughter Mary and her live-in boyfriend Percy Bysshe Shelley until the couple married.24

When Wollstonecraft developed a crush on the painter Henry Fuseli, she suggested to Fuseli's wife that the three of them live together. Not surprisingly, Fuseli's wife did not like this idea. Fuseli stopped contacting Wollstonecraft after that.25

Halfway through A Vindication of the Rights of Man, Wollstonecraft got a case of writer's block and called on her publisher Joseph Johnson. After listening to her agonize and complain about the progress of the work, Johnson offered to throw away all that she had written if it would make her happy. She was so annoyed by his indulgence of her stress-fest that she went straight home and finished the work.26

Poor Fanny Imlay. William Godwin raised Wollstonecraft's illegitimate daughter by Gilbert Imlay after her mother's death, but never made any secret of his preference for his own daughter, Mary. Fanny committed suicide in 1816 at the age of 22.27

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