Categories: English Notables.
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Mary Wollstonecraft was born April 27, 1759. Her parents, John Edward Wollstonecraft and Elizabeth Dickson, had six children. Edward was older than Mary, James, Charles, Eliza, and Everina were all younger.
Mary Wollstonecraft's early life was one of dwindling fortune and frequent upheaval. Mary's position as the oldest daughter, put her in charge of 4 younger siblings, who were more than their mother's frail health could manage. This responsibility, coupled with regular moves (8 times in 19 years) to follow her father's unsuccessful attempts to make money, served to deprive Mary of security or confidence that a man would take care of her.
Mary worked at various things before she established herself as an author.
Her first "position" was as a traveling companion to a Widow Dawson of Bath. She maintained this position from 1778 until she was called home to nurse her mother in 1781.
In 1784, Mary opened a school at Newington Green in Islington with her two sisters and her friend, Fanny Blood. Fanny left to marry and moved to Lisbon. During Fanny's pregnancy she sent for Mary. Upon Mary's return to the school in 1786, she found the school had declined in her absence and she was forced to shut it down..
Still in keeping with an educational trend, Mary became a governess to the daughters of Viscount Kingsborough in 1786. She wrote her first book while working as a governess, but she was dismissed in 1787.
In 1788, Mary began to work for her publisher, Joseph Johnson, first as a translator and then as a reviewer for his monthly periodical, The Analytical Review.
Although she wrote quite a bit, her first real success as an author came in 1790, when A Vindication of the Rights of Men was published. She was then firmly established as an author.
Her writings include:
In her thirty-eight years, Mary Wollstonecraft had two great loves, each of whom she bore a daughter.
The first was American, Gilbert Imlay, with whom she was involved from 1793 until 1795
The second was, fellow intellectual, William Godwin. Her relationship with Godwin began in 1796 and lasted until her death. During that time Godwin and Wollstonecraft married.
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