A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects.

“All the sacred rights of humanity are violated by insisting on blind obedience”: First edition of Mary Wollstonecraft's landmark work A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects.



Item Number: 110854

London: J. Johnson, 1792.

Rare first edition of this landmark work in both Enlightenment philosophy and the history of feminism. Octavo, bound in full morocco, marbled endpapers. In near fine condition with some light toning to the text, contemporary name to the title page. Housed in a custom slipcase. An exceptional example.

“Wollstonecraft’s major work caused an outcry when it was published and is hailed as a cornerstone of feminism…. The central theme of the work on women’s rights was that they should be educated to carry a responsibility in society equal to that of men. In disagreement with Rousseau… Wollstonecraft urged ‘rational fellowship instead of slavish obedience” (Legacies of Genius 64). "Although Wollstonecraft is best known as a feminist thinker, her philosophies are not limited to women’s issues… Wollstonecraft advocates liberty and equality for all humanity. Advancing arguments for political rights, she argues for the removal of traditional injustices of rank, property, class, and gender… The key to freedom lies in the reasoning individual conscience, not in laws or dogma… Wollstonecraft adamantly asserts that education inculcating reason will eventually emancipate all humankind from all forms of servitude (political, sexual, religious, or economic)” (Great Thinkers of the Western World, 322-327). The landmark work was written in a “plain and direct style, and it was this as well as the idea of writing a book on the subject at all, which caused the outcry that ensued… she argued for equality of education for both sexes… and co-education. It was a rational plea for a rational basis to the relation between the sexes… Its chief object was to show that women were not the playthings of men but ought to be their equal partners, which they could be only if they were educated in the same way” (PMM 242).

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