Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft (17591797)

Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, an English authoress, and first to publicly assert the Rights of Women, born at Hoxton, of humble Irish parentage; at 19 she began to support herself by teaching, and continued to do so till 1788, when she established herself in London to push her way as a writer, having already published “Thoughts on the Education of Daughters”; in 1791 she replied to Burke's “Reflections,” and in the following year appeared her famous “Vindication of the Rights of Women”; while in Paris in 1793 she formed a liaison with an American, Captain Imlay, whose cruel desertion of her two years later induced her to attempt suicide by drowning; in 1796 she became attached to William Godwin, a friend of five years' standing, and with him lived for some months, although, in accord with their own pronounced opinions, no marriage ceremony had been performed; in deference to the opinions of others, however, they departed from this position, and a marriage was duly celebrated five months before the birth of their daughter Mary (Shelley's second wife); contemporary opinion shows her to have been generous and gentle of nature, and animated throughout by a noble zeal for the welfare of humanity (17591797).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

Godwin * Godwin, William
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