London: J. Johnson, 1792.
Second edition. (xix), 452 pp. 1 vols. Second edition of Wollstonecraft's famous argument for equality of education for both sexes. Three-quarter light brown leather, wear to the edges of the and edges; marbled boards. Armorial bookplate of Joseph Humble. PMM 242 (First Edition). Item #318196
Published the same year as the first edition in London in 1792. Wollstonecraft felt that women ought to be the equal partners of men and wrote "...that if woman be not prepared by education to become the companion of man, she will stop the progress of knowledge, for truth must be common to all" (dedication, p.v). Vindication was an immediate best seller and, although there was nothing particularly shocking in her writings, there was much critical reaction, with Horace Walpole describing Mary as a "hyena in petticoats," while the evangelical writer Hannah More found the very title so ridiculous that she publicly expressed her intention never to read it.
Tallyrand's new system of national education was proposed to the French Assembly in 1791. In it only males would be educated. This inspired Wolstonecraft to write this work to show the need for the education of both sexes. Wollstonecraft's theory, as defined in a letter to Tallyrand, was “built on this simple principle that, if woman be not prepared by education to become the companion of man, she will stop the progress of knowledge, for truth must be common to all.” Her work was “a rational plea for a rational basis to the relation between the sexes.” (PMM) “She was the first to fuse experience, intellect, and emotion to attack the sexual basis of social and religious tratidion and to bring to issue to life as a philosophically based and practical reform to be incorporated forthwith in a specific society.” (Sunstein, E. "A Different Face. The Life of Mary Wollstonecraft," p. 207).
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