Mary Wollstonecraft is one of the most distinctive letter writers of the 18th century. She talked and thought on paper and her letters were a large part of the drama of her life. In them she grows from an awkward child of 14 to the woman of 38 facing death in childbirth. At different times they reveal her very modern desire to reconcile the irreconcilable: integrity and sexual longing, the needs and duties of a woman, motherhood and intellectual life, fame and domesticity, reason and passion. Written on the hoof in cramped lodgings or swaying boats, in the wilds of Scandinavia or freezing Paris, they form a remarkable autobiographical document. With flashes of genius, these letters are compelling reading.
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[A] splendid edition of the letters... Todd's well-judged annotations help us understand these letters in the context of Wollstonecraft's milieu and era... By freshly editing and carefully re-dating the letters, and including several newly discovered ones, Todd supersedes the edition produced by Ralph Wardle in 1979. Her edition also constitutes an excellent companion to the biography that Todd published in 2000 and The Works of Mary Wollstonecraft,which she edited with Marilyn Butler in 1989. The Guardian [Todd] has produced an exemplary edition, allowing us to read the letters without editorial intrusion, while providing vividly detailed and easily accessible footnotes. London Sunday Telegraph Informed by Todd's unrivaled knowledge of the life and works...research collections should certainly have this new edition Choice Janet Todd's The Collected Letters will be an indispensable tool for scholars. -- Eleanor Ty Eighteenth-Century FictionAbout the Author:
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759 - 97) was an educationalist and feminist writer. Part of the radical set that included Blake and Fuseli, her relationship with William Godwin and the birth of their child - Mary Shelley - outside of marraige caused great scandal after her death.
Janet Todd is Research Professor of English at Glasgow & author of widely-praised biographies of Mary Wollstonecraft and Aphra Behn, and most recently Rebel Daughters: Ireland in Conflict, 1798 (Viking, 2003).
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