Mary Wollstonecraft was born in the 1750’s. At the age of 21, she took a proud and unprecedented stance of refusing to get married, adamant not to relinquish all her power and property to a husband. She saved her sister from a miserable marriage and worked for several years as a governess, laying the foundation for her life as an independent woman.
It was at the age of 28 that she penned ‘Maria’, her first semi-autobiographical novel. She worked as a writer and editor, harbouring a passion for women’s and children’s causes. The French Revolution of 1789 prompted Wollstonecraft’s interest in politics; she wrote an essay titled ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Men’, based on the humanitarian ideals of the French Revolution. This literary work was followed by ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Women’, written in 1792.
That same year, Fate would intervene when Wollstonecraft fell in love for the first time. Sadly, though, that relationship was doomed to fail since her first love was a married man. Her fortune seemingly improved when she met Gilbert Imlay, the man with whom she would have a daughter called Fanny, but he later abandoned them. After two failed suicide attempts, Wollstonecraft found love a third time, in the form of philosopher and novelist, William Godwin. This time, she got married and together, they had a daughter, Mary Shelley; she too would later become a novelist, the most commonly read book of hers being ‘Frankenstein’. Tragedy struck the family when Wollstonecraft succumbed to an infection on the 10th of September, 1897, mere days after her second daughter’s birth.
‘Memoirs of the Author of a Vindication of the Rights of Women’ was written by her husband in honour of her memory.