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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
This review is from: 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) (Paperback)
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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