By Caroline Franklin (auth.)
This research argues that protestant society had routinely sanctioned women's function in spreading literacy, yet this grew to become politicized within the 1790s. Wollstonecraft's literary vocation was once formed via the expectancies of the ability of print to coach and reform participants and society, within the radical circles of the Unitarian writer Joseph Johnson.
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Additional info for Mary Wollstonecraft: A Literary Life
24 Her post as governess was particularly frustrating in that she was in the centre of a family but marginal to it; supporting herself yet a shabby, debt-laden dependent. Nevertheless, the insights she gained into aristocratic life were to prove invaluable. Lord and Lady Kingsborough had been married in their mid-teens and were the largest landowners in Ireland. Wollstonecraft experienced aristocratic life in Mitchelstown Castle at the centre of the vast desmesne. Her employers had called in the agrarian reformer Arthur Young to help them run their estates profitably but without undue exploitation.
In August 1786 she would take up the temporary expedient of a post as governess to the children of Viscount and Lady Kingsborough in Mitchelstown, County Cork. But Godwin tells us that Wollstonecraft already had her sights fixed on a literary career: Independence was the object after which she thirsted, and she was fixed to try whether it might not be found in literary occupation. She was desirous however first to accumulate a small sum of money, which should enable her to consider at leisure the different literary engagements that might offer, and provide in some degree for the eventual deficiency of her earliest attempts.
166) and by May 1788 it was published (CLMW, p. 174). Nine years later she was ashamed of it, ‘I consider it as a crude production, and do not very willingly put it in the way of people whose good opinion, as a writer, I wish for’ (CLMW, p. 385). By then Wollstonecraft was writing a second novel. Godwin, out of curiosity, read the earlier book, Mary: A Fiction, in August 1796. He however rated it highly: This little work, if Mary had never produced any thing else, would serve, with persons of true taste and sensibility, to establish the eminence of her genius.