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Download The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft (Meridian) epub

by Claire Tomalin

Download The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft (Meridian) epub
ISBN: 0452006562
ISBN13: 978-0452006560
Category: Biographies
Subcategory: Arts & Literature
Author: Claire Tomalin
Language: English
Publisher: Plume (September 1, 1983)
ePUB size: 1850 kb
FB2 size: 1815 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 983
Other Formats: docx mbr azw rtf

When you read biographies of people that you wish to understand better, you want an honest rendition of that person's life, personality and the times into which they were born and lived. My initial interest in Mary Wollstonecraft was her position on, and reactions to, the French Revolution. After completing your book I was satisfied with what I had learned and came away with a greater appreciation for Wollstonecraft. Thanks, Claire. I will be searching out more of your books.
Claire Tomalin puts a lot of research into her biographical subjects. I have read her biographies about Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen and look forward to reading this one.
Mary Wollstonecraft was an excessively unsympathetic character - she was a user( in modern parlance anyway), she manipulated, she was deliberately obstructive and astonishingly naive and yet Tomalin's biography of this most irritating of women kept me completely enthralled from beginning to end. Wollstonecraft certainly was neither deified or demonised here - simply left to tell her own story through her actions.
There is very little quoted material in her, it is pretty much a narrative of her life from childhood through to her death. Tomalin has done enormous research on her life, the pieces tie in together seamlessly.
Wollstonecraft was (of course) the woman who wrote that seminal work on the Rights of Women - and that really seems to be her predominant claim to fame although her lifestyle was very unusual for her times - having open relationships with men (including married men such as the artist Fuseli). I was mostly struck by how little success she really acheived in her lifetime despite her driving attitude to work and enormous energy - it seems although it was all misdirected or perhaps that was a good thing considering her beliefs (odd for her time) and her resentments (numerous and very often unfounded)
Very very enjoyable read.
I do not think I have ever seen a biographical piece of writing that was less objective. I downloaded the Kindle free sample and I have seen enough not to continue with the purchase. The author very evidently has some small-minded interpretations of Mary Wollstonecraft's psychology which colors the way in which facts are presented - some crucial factors are minimalized, such as her father's violence and the intra-family biases, which a cursory reading of Wollstonecraft's work would help to shed more light on.
Aspersions on Wollstonecraft's personality because of her just and rational critiques is rather ironic - this is precisely evidence the mind-boggling inequality that insists on polite conformity at all costs for women - exactly the point which Wollstonecraft was trying to make and it only serves to lower my opinion of this author's intelligence.
Moreover, most of the construction of Wollstonecraft's early character are built - not on facts or witness accounts - but on baseless and sly innuendo - for example - she cites an account that little Mary went to visit an old lady "contrary to her will" (who - by the way, committed suicide in delirium and Mary's image of the corpse would haunt her for the rest of her life) as evidence that Mary was ill-tempered and imperious - allegations which hardly match the numerous factual occasions of her self-sacrificing generosity - let alone the sensitive, critical and reflective temper of her moral writings. There is no evidence of any attempts to be "objective" or "critical" or to address different perspectives or interpretations. The author of this text is the sort of person who could join the spiteful peanut gallery that immediately followed in this daring and brilliant woman's wake and tried to minimize her massive creative and critical contributions to the literature and moral and political philosophy of her day and ours.