This video is called Karla Carter on Mary Wollstonecraft, Part Two.
By Susan Darlington in Britain:
Wednesday 30 June 2010
The issue, therefore, isn’t so much about the quality of the original text as to whether this edition, the 13th in Verso’s Revolutions series, merits reinvestment.
The crux of this rests with the 23-page introduction, which has been written by respected feminist historian Sheila Rowbotham.
It also briefly examines the impact it has had on future generations of feminists, its vibrant and forthright style of writing positing many ideas that remain on the women’s rights agenda.
The introductory essay is equally good at drawing out inherent contradictions in many of Wollstonecraft’s arguments, noting that she advocates both a rational view of women’s role in society and the Romantic call for “an emotional and spiritual place in the heart.”
These self same oppositions dogged Wollstonecraft’s own life, often to devastating effect, yet Rowbotham affords no real understanding of the forces that drove the 18th century woman to question and defy societal conventions.
The place for such discussion is probably in a biography and not in this introduction.
To that end, Rowbotham’s accessible essay serves its purpose in arousing an interest in its subject, the author’s life and the politics of the time.
There have, however, been previous editions of the book that provide more fulsome background reading, such as Miriam Brody’s introduction for Penguin Classics.
As such, while Wollstonecraft’s book is essential for those interested in the roots of early feminism, this isn’t necessarily the definitive edition.
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