Mary Wollstonecraft: A feminist exile in Paris
- Číslo 57 
PublisherUniverzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta
SourceLitteraria Pragensia, 2019, 57, 29-46
KeywordsKeywords not found
In A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) and other writings, Mary Wollstonecraft described the state of Englishwomen in their native land figuratively as that of a slave, an outlaw and an exile. This view was shared by other women writers across the political spectrum in the 1790s, including Charlotte Smith and Frances Burney. The idea of women’s dispatriation by the laws of England provides a context for reconsidering Wollstonecraft’s twentyseven month period as an expatriate in revolutionary France. Three specific questions are addressed: Why did she go to Paris in December 1792? Why did she decide to stay at the outbreak of war between Britain and France in February 1793? And why was she so resistant to the idea of leaving Paris and returning to London in early 1795? The trope of the feminist exile offers valuable guidance when exploring her motivations. A distinctive set of priorities comes into focus, setting Wollstonecraft apart from her compatriots and fellow-radicals in the French capital at the time. Both the influence of working-class citoyennes on economic policy and the liberalisation of family law at the outset of the Republic made a profound impression on her, revealed most fully in her correspondence and in the unfinished novel The Wrongs of Woman; or, Maria (1798).