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Mary Wollstonecraft
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Mary Wollstonecraft


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Posted by Jan den Breejen (145.53.141.105) on August 31, 2003 at 09:26:55:

Could this early ' feminist' be Mercurial Style 7w6 character?

JDB

case text citation:
Revolution and passion

Object of Wollstonecraft's secret passion, Swiss-born writer Henry Fuseli As she was insisting on reason over the sensibility she had earlier embraced, Mary conceived an unacknowledged passion for the married painter and philosopher Henry Fuseli. When her feelings threatened to overwhelm her, she left for France to join other English intellectuals, such as Thomas Paine, in celebrating the French Revolution.

The fourth year of the Revolution was approaching, and the Jacobin Terror was about to begin. Vulnerable and yearning for old friends, Mary replaced Fuseli in her heart with the handsome Gilbert Imlay, an American speculator and liberal author. Their love blossomed. When the French grew antagonistic to English well-wishers once war broke out between the two countries, Mary had to move from Paris to a nearby village and declare herself the American Imlay's wife - though no marriage occurred. Throughout the next months in Paris, Le Havre (where their child was born), London and Scandinavia (where she was sent alone on a business trip for Imlay), her moving, haunted letters chart the breakdown of her relationship with the man she loved.

'Before she went to Scandinavia Mary attempted suicide; she tried again on her return.'
Before she went to Scandinavia Mary attempted suicide; she tried again on her return. The beginning of the recovery of her health and peace of mind was marked by publication of her description of her Scandinavian trip, Letters from Sweden (1796). In this she portrays herself as a romantic unhappy wanderer in the midst of sublime nature. The work links her earlier belief in sensibility with her subsequent more rigorous rationalism, and shows how she has accepted the mind-body connection that had troubled her throughout her life. Together with her private letters to Imlay, it reveals her vacillations between neediness and dependence on the one hand, and her longing for freedom and autonomy on the other.

In her letters to Imlay she grappled with the problem of female sexual desire within society, which in The Rights of Woman she had described as needing to be controlled; she also addressed the value, power and seduction of the imagination within human relationships. 'I consider those minds as the most strong and original, whose imagination acts as the stimulus to their senses.'




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