A Vindication of the Rights of Woman:
With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects.London: printed for J. Johnson, 1792 Stock Code: 137762
NotesFirst edition of the first great feminist treatise. Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) argued in her groundbreaking manifesto that the rights of man and of woman were one and the same thing. Her demand for "justice for one-half of the human race" was too revolutionary for her time, but she found a following among radicals and educated women, and succeeded in initiating a new regard for women as an important social force. Wollstonecraft preached that intellect would always govern, and she sought "to persuade women to endeavour to acquire strength, both of mind and body, and to convince them that the soft phrases, susceptibility of heart, delicacy of sentiment, and refinement of taste, are almost synonimous sic with epithets of weakness".
A second edition was published the same year, but a planned second volume was never written, not least because Wollstonecraft's confidence had been severely shaken by her tumultuous affair with Gilbert Imlay. Five years later she met and married William Godwin and died giving birth to their daughter Mary, future author of Frankenstein.
Octavo. Original blue paper-covered boards, paper spine label titled in manuscript "Rights of Woman", edges uncut. Housed in a dark blue quarter morocco solander box by the Chelsea Bindery.
Engraved bookplate of Edwin B. Holden (1861-1906), distinguished American book collector and an early member of the Grolier Club, to front pastedown. Boards and free endpaper expertly reattached, cords stabilised, else an unsophisticated copy. Spine label chipped affecting two letters of title, dampstaining to boards, faint foxing to contents. A very good copy in the original boards.
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