Study Guide

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman What's Up With the Epigraph?

By Mary Wollstonecraft

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What's Up With the Epigraph?

"When I first began to write this work, I divided it into three parts, supposing that one volume would contain a full discussion of the arguments which seemed to me to rise naturally from a few simple principles […]"

Unfortunately, Wollstonecraft died before she had the chance to write more volumes of Vindication. But in her original introduction to the book, she states that she plans on writing at least two other volumes in addition to one we have with us today.

She also uses this introduction to insist that her arguments in favor of women's equality don't come from any fancy-shmancy complicated philosophy. In her mind, women's rights are based on very basic principles, like, for example, the equality of all people in the eyes of God.

Wollstonecraft is big on capital-R Reason, and this epigraph states her intention to have her argument follow along a few simple lines of reasoning. The language in "rise naturally from a few simple principle" is borderline condescending to those that don't agree with her. "Hey man, I'm making this super-easy here," Wollstonecraft is saying. "This stuff is just obvious. But I'll write about it anyhow because some people (lookin' at you, Rousseau) just don't see it."

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