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A Short Residence in Sweden & Memoirs of the Author of 'The Rights of Woman': AND Memoirs of the Author of 'The Rights of Woman' (Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Mary Wollstonecraft , William Godwin , Richard Holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In these two closely linked works - a travel book and a biography of its author - we witness a moving encounter between two of the most daring and original minds of the late eighteenth century: A Short Residence in Sweden is the record of Wollstonecraft's last journey in search of happiness, into the remote and beautiful backwoods of Scandinavia. The quest for a lost treasure ship, the pain of a wrecked love affair, memories of the French Revolution, and the longing for some Golden Age, all shape this vivid narrative, which Richard Holmes argues is one of the neglected masterpieces of early English Romanticism.

Memoirs is Godwin's own account of Wollstonecraft's life, written with passionate intensity a few weeks after her tragic death. Casting aside literary convention, Godwin creates an intimate portrait of his wife, startling in its candour and psychological truth. Received with outrage by friends and critics alike, and virtually suppressed for a century, it can now be recognized as one of the landmarks in the development of modern biography.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 511 KB
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0140432698
  • Publisher: Penguin; Reprint edition (30 April 1987)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI98II
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #350,858 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Mary Wollstonecraft is perhaps most famous for being the mother of Mary Shelley, author of the Gothic classic "Frankenstein", but this book proves her to be a fascinating subject and artist in her own right. This is one of the major literary contributions to Romanticism, but provides a more intimate and personal perspective than many of her male contemporaries. It is a love story, a history, travel guide and adventure story all rolled into one . When I first read the book I was amazed that a woman in the eighteenth century undertook such a journey. She was travelling in the little known Scandinavia, unaccompanied, and yet she remains couragous, feisty, passionate and intellectual throughout. This was a fascinating period in history, and Wolstonecraft crams all of the concerns of her time into this book. Her close link with Nature, a recurrent theme of the Romantics, informs the whole narrative, and her vibrant prose fills the reader's head with vivid images.
Wolstonecraft was only 38 when she died, and to my mind, remains one of the most neglected writers of the time. The second part of the book, is written by her husband Godwin. It is a biography of his wife, and is stimulating and moving. Wolstonecraft and Godwin campaigned for a freer and more just society and this book will bring the era alive in glowing colours. Her better known work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, is also highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One for the Romantics. 7 Jan. 2007
By Room for a View VINE VOICE
This edition offers two works that complement each other with a sincerity and sagacity that is inspiring. Mary Wollstonecraft, the adventurous `single' mother, proto feminist, free thinker, seeking happiness but beset by a love for a man who is unable to return her devotion. William Godwin, intellectual, Radical, an objectively passionate writer who was to become an influential force for modern biographical development. Holmes' erudite introduction helpfully explains the context for Wollstonecraft's trip to Scandinavia, providing the biographical background necessary to understand Wollstonecraft's views on diverse issues such as commerce, the role of women, capital punishment, her lover's negligence towards her and their daughter (the ill fated Fanny). Godwin, as Holmes details, leaves no stone unturned as he explores the life of his short lived wife, never judgemental and full of compassion for Mary, her loves and ambitions. Indeed his description of her drawn out death is horrifying, intensely emotional and surprisingly sanguine: providing striking psychological observations . Ultimately, however, I was left with a deep sense of the confessional, both writers displaying an uninhibited desire to express feeling, sensuality, reasoning and the consequences of love. In telling passages Wollstonecraft describes herself `as a particle broken off from the grand mass of mankind' and humanity `born merely to be swept prematurely away.' Whereas Godwin reveals `a women universally well spoken of for the warmth and purity of her benevolence', a characteristic reflected in his views on her published Scandinavian correspondence, `if ever there was a book calculated to make a man in love with its author, this appears to me to be the book.' Well you were right William!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Woman Ahead of Her Time 27 Feb. 2012
Mary Wollstonecraft offers something for everyone. Not only is she the fore-mother of modern feminism (see her 'A Vindication of the Rights of Woman'), she also anticipates much of the Romantic sensibility prevalent in the nineteenth-century. Although her 'A Vindication' is often criticized for feeling rushed (it was written in only 6 weeks), and her prose is not considered entirely successful (see 'Mary' or 'Maria: Or, the wrongs of woman'), her 'Residence in Sweden' is clearly the most successful of her works. This text consists of letters sent from Wollstonecraft to London over a period of three and a half months in which she travelled Scandinavia. The letters act as part of the popular genre of travel writing, as Wollstonecraft proves a fervent inquirer who is not afraid to ask 'men's questions.' In terms of sociological inquiry, she appears ahead of her time, anticipating the anthropological studies of the nineteenth-century. Wollstonecraft's 'Residence in Sweden' may be described as proto-Romantic, with her focus on sublime Nature and her meditative melancholy moments (not unlike the Spots of Time in Wordsworth's 'The Prelude').

The reader is struck by the mysterious, melancholy tenor throughout the letters. Wollstonecraft never explicitly speaks of the motive for her travel, nor the ship for which she is looking. This provides an unseen tension throughout the letters, and one must turn to Godwin's memoirs of her to find out why she took it upon herself to travel the unknown lands of Scandinavia with only a handmaid to assist her with her young daughter.

We learn, from Godwin, that Wollstonecraft's travel cones between two suicide attempts.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars A Short Residence... 18 Feb. 2015
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An integral look back at Western life in the late 18th Century, and a look into the lives of two key Romantics who just happen to be the parents Mary Shelley who in turn wrote "Frankenstein." Not only do they include the titular texts, but the wonderful introductions and historical context that Penguin is known for. Great buy!
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