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Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

on 21 January 2017
Came with nice packaging, new and with a nice bookmark which I really appreciated
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on 14 April 2018
Great book
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 December 2016
The introduction to this work notes that 'Mary' "explores the position of an alienated intellectual woman and, in portraying her struggle against the constraints of a claustrophobic feminine world, began a line that would include the more substantial heroines of 'Jane Eyre' and 'Villette'."

I would only give 'Mary' a tentative *2.5, but the reader can certainly see it as a precursor to Bronte's later works of genius. This is a short (60p) story, partly autobiographical, where the independent heroine - after being married off against her will - accompanies her consumptive friend to Portugal. A principled, Christian woman, who delights in helping others, Mary observes life and the people around her. And falls in love for the first time... And as she wretchedly sails for England ""the tempest in her soul rendered every other trifling - it was not the contending elements but herself she feared".
I got into this more as I determinedly kept on with it, but I wouldn't call it reading for pleasure.

'Maria' (or 'The Wrongs of Woman'), written ten years later is a much more accomplished work. Very Gothic/ Romantic, the story opens with our eponymous heroine finding herself incarcerated in a lunatic asylum. The reader soon becomes aware that she is quite sane, and as she converses with her wardress, (and later a male inmate - also wrongfully detained - we come to know the stories of all three. Very much a vehicle for the author to continue the theme of her earlier 'Vindication of the Rights of Woman', we read of corrupt husbands having jurisdiction over their wives' money and automatic custody of their children, while the working-class wardress Jemima, tells of abuse by her employers, the plight of unmarried mothers and the way many are forced into prostitution. The opportunities of women as against those of their male counterparts are vastly worse. Although this story stops at a reasonable point, the appendix explains that the author had plans for further chapters, and gives an outline of the intended plot. A fairly interesting read.
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on 9 November 2011
Mary and The Wrongs of Woman (also known as Maria)were written by Mary Wollstonecraft at distant points in her career and thus demonstrate the progression of her thinking. These are Wollstonecraft's only novels and are concerned with the woman's treatment and position in society during the last decade of the 18th Century. It is generally understood that Wollstonecraft's novels were stagings of her politics which served to depict her arguments regarding the rights of woman for a female readership. 'Mary' is about a young girl's life after the death of her mother and her marriage to a young man for the purpose of saving her father's estate. It is often considered as a partial autobiography as the friendship depicted in the book has many parallels with Wollstonecraft's childhood friendship with a Fanny Blood. Written early in her career when Wollstonecraft admired the work of Rousseau, 'Mary' is written in the style of a sentimental novel. 'The Wrongs of Woman' was written much later in her career and was in fact published, incomplete, after her death. It is in the style of a gothic novel and tells the story of a young mother imprisoned in a mad house after she tries to separate from her adulterous, gambling husband.
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on 13 September 2010
This short "fiction" closely mirrors Wollstonecraft's early life. Dealing with her imperfect upbringing and parents' unhappy marriage. It also raises the contemporary issue of an independent woman.

I found the prose dull and laborious, however as an important feminist text it was immensely interesting.

I would only recommend this to someone reading for knowledge rather than enjoyment as I personally received little from the process of reading this book.
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on 27 November 2005
The story of 'Mary' is all about moods.
Being badly treated by her husband, Mary flees in the arms of her friend Ann. After Ann's death, Mary meets another friend, Henry, who also dies. In a new confrontation with her husband, Mary longs for Heaven, 'a world where there is neither marrying, nor giving in marriage.'
The overall sentiment in this book is 'pity mistaken for love'.
Although Mary promises herself to 'do anything rather than be a slave', her attitude to life is resignation: 'I cannot argue against instincts.' 'Happiness was not to be founded on earth, for life is a dream, a frightful one.'
Against the sorry state of the majority of the English population (hunger, want of education, poverty, misery and dirt) or the hypocrisy of religion ('Many prayers may fall from the lips without purifying the heart'), her only reaction is melancholy: 'I have been wounded by ingratitude.'
There is also an undertone of fear of sexuality and pregnancies: 'love leads to madness.'
Mary is a victim of life. She doesn't live. She is lived.
This story is certainly not one of the highlights of English literature. Its plot is poor and it doesn't have the biting aggression of Mary Wollstonecraft's other story 'Maria'.
But it is still a worth-while read.
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