GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Book Review: Mother of Frankenstein: Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman & Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman | I Smell Sheep

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Book Review: Mother of Frankenstein: Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman & Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

by Mary Wollstonecraft (Author), William Godwin (Author), Constanza Ontaneda (Foreword)
July 12, 2021
Wordfire Classics
The Wrongs of Woman, a gothic Victorian novel, is the seminal, unfinished work by Mary Wollstonecraft, considered the Mother of Modern Feminism, while the second is her memoir, compiled by her husband.

Wollstonecraft died in agony 11 days after giving birth to Mary Shelley, who would become the author of Frankenstein. Her heartbroken husband, William Godwin, vowed to compile her memoirs and publish them along with her unfinished Victorian gothic novel in 1798.

He meant to glorify her. The opposite happened. European society made a freak of Wollstonecraft, her work and her memory. What could she have written that scandalized so much? What did Godwin reveal to incite such ire?

In The Wrongs of Woman, Maria has been separated from her infant daughter and imprisoned in an insane asylum by her husband. There, she forms an unexpected friendship with one of the female wards. Could romance follow?

Mary Wollstonecraft lived for 38 years, and changed the world. The Wrongs of Woman is considered her most radical feminist work. Republishing these works is imperative because people need and want to know whose shoulders they stand on.

In early November of 2020, a statue dedicated to Mary Wollstonecraft was unveiled in Newington Green, London, England, 223 years after her untimely death. Much press coverage followed evidence that Wollstonecraft is still relevant today.

“We hear her voice and trace her influence even now among the living.” — Virginia Woolf

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759—1797) was an English philosopher, writer, and feminist. She wrote her most important work, a philosophical treatise titled A Vindication of the Right of Woman, in 1792, and was writing a novelistic sequel to it, titled Maria, or The Wrongs of Woman, during her second pregnancy in 1797.

William Godwin (1756—1836) was an English political philosopher, journalist, and writer.

Constanza Ontaneda is a teacher and entrepreneur. She has an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from New York University and an MA in Publishing from Western Colorado University’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing.

I received a copy of this book for review and I’m so glad for it!

If Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein blew my mind, Mary Wollstonecraft’s book left me astounded! While they may not have had the same objective in mind when writing their amazing novels, both mother and daughter were made from the same stuff. Shelley’s authoritative stance on how science — or rather going against god — had the same flavor as Wollstonecraft’s belief that her protagonist was only in dire straits because of her gender.

I just cannot imagine how ahead of their times they both were. While Wollstonecraft’s life is a who’s who of the big players of her time, Shelley imbibed the ideas they spouted with her mother’s milk.

To keep from turning this review into my fangirling about the two Marys, I’ll say one slightly negative but true thing about Maria. Wollstonecraft may have been a great nonfiction writer but penning down an honest-to-god Gothic novel like, say, Wuthering Heights, wasn’t her forte. However, we should keep in mind that it was in its final form before she passed away. So, maybe that would have made a difference. Who knows!

Regarding the Memoirs, they were written down by Wollstonecraft’s husband, Godwin. You can see how besotted he had been with his wife as you read it. Now, while that could have kept him from giving us the whole truth, it’s easy to see that wasn’t the case. The simple way with which he describes his wife paying off her father’s debts, supporting him financially, setting up her brothers in good positions and jobs, ensuring that her sisters had jobs and inheritances to fall back on and such show that Wollstonecraft was as extraordinary as he imagined her to be. Sure, his constant praise can take a toll on the reader but I still came away knowing more about Mary Shelley’s mom than I did before.

With an interesting foreword, this book was one of my favorite reads of the month. 

4 sheep

Reviewer: Midu Reads
Most of my go-to series are 3 starrers
*No rating - wasn't my genre/dnf'd so rating it would be unfair
1 sheep - won't be picking up another book in a series  again
2 sheep - average read with overused tropes and cliches. Will give the author another try/only continuing because of OCD, so must finish a series
2.5 sheep - liked the book but was put off because it was overly long/illtreatment of a character the author had me invest in and so on.
3 sheep - enjoyed the book but have reservations because I expected to be wowed and wasn't
4 sheep - was unputdownable
5 sheep - formed an emotional connection, will read the heck outta this series

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