WOLLSTONECRAFT, Mary - HAYS, Mary, & others.

The Annual Necrology for 1797-8.

Including, also, Various Articles of Neglected Biography. Vol. I.

London: Printed for R. Phillips, 1800 Stock Code: 123651
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"Her own sex have lost, in the premature fate of this extraordinary woman, an able champion"

First edition, and sole volume, of this ambitious project to record obituaries of notable persons on an annual basis. The most significant memoir recorded here is the 49 page obituary of Mary Wollstonecraft by the feminist biographer Mary Hays (1759-1843).

Hays received a copy of Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman upon its publication in 1792, and was extremely motivated by its contents; she contacted the publishers and arranged a meeting with Wollstonecraft, becoming involved in London's radical Jacobin circles. Hays had written her own radical work, an Appeal to the Men of Great Britain in behalf of Women (1798), written at the same time as Wollstonecraft's Vindication, although not published for a further six years. In it Hays "joins Wollstonecraft in advising women to throw off their shackles by educating themselves rationally so that they realise their potential as the intellectual equals of men" (ODNB). Hays tended to Wollstonecraft on her deathbed, and upon Wollstonecraft's premature death in September 1797 wrote her obituary in the Monthly Review. The extended essay included here provides a less eulogistic analysis of Wollstonecraft's life whilst maintaining its political slant, describing women as "the victims of vice and superstition". Hays created a significant six volume biographical dictionary of 294 impressive women, her Female Biography (1803), in which Wollstonecraft was not included, making this a valuable and rare repository of material. Other notable obituaries included are those for Catharine II, Edmund Burke, and Antoine Lavoisier.

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Octavo. Contemporary blue paper spine, preserving original printed paper title label, original grey boards, edges untrimmed.


Folding plate facsimile of handwriting.


Contemporary bookplate to front pastedown. Wear to extremities, first gathering slightly shaken, a couple of leaves unopened, yellow silk page marker pinned to front pastedown, faint pencil notation to margins of contents list; a good copy.


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