A MOTHER’S LOVE
Mary Wollstonecraft was a writer and passionate advocate of equality for women. Her seminal work, A Vindication
of the Rights of Women (1792), argued that the education system was at that time specifically designed to produce women who were petty, pretty and weak.
She spent time in Paris during the French Revolution, where she had an affair with an American captain, with whom she had a daughter (Mary Godwin’s half-sister, Fanny), but, when that relationship fell apart, she attempted to commit suicide.
Recovered, she returned home and joined a group of radicals that included William Blake, Thomas Paine, William Wordsworth and her future husband, William Godwin.
After her death – perhaps because of it – Wollstonecraft had a huge influence on her daughter’s life. Mary even learned to read by touching the letters carved into her mother’s gravestone at the age of three. She read and re-read her mother’s works so many times that she could recite some of them, and their themes and arguments are integral to many of Mary’s own works.