Mary; Maria / Mathilda

Mary Wollstonecraft / Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley | Mary; Maria / Mathilda

Mary: A Fiction [Mary Wollstonecraft]

Mary: A Fiction is the only complete novel by the 18th-century British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. It tells the tragic story of a heroine’s successive “romantic friendships” with a woman and a man. Composed while Wollstonecraft was a governess in Ireland, the novel was published in 1788 shortly after her summary dismissal and her momentous decision to embark on a writing career, a precarious and disreputable profession for women in 18th-century Britain.

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Maria; Or, The Wrongs of Woman [Mary Wollstonecraft]

Landmark novel by an early pioneer of women’s rights
In this classic feminist text, the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman expresses her egalitarian social philosophy in the form of fiction. This story of a woman imprisoned in an asylum by her abusive husband offers a powerful indictment of women’s lowly status in eighteenth-century England.

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Mathilda [Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley]

With its shocking theme of father-daughter incest, Mary Shelley’s publisher—her father, known for his own subversive books—not only refused to publish Mathilda, he refused to return her only copy of the manuscript, and the work was never published in her lifetime.

His suppression of this passionate novella is perhaps understandable—unlike her first book, Frankenstein, written a year earlier, Mathilda uses fantasy to study a far more personal reality. It tells the story of a young woman whose mother died in her childbirth—just as Shelly’s own mother died after hers—and whose relationship with her bereaved father becomes sexually charged as he conflates her with his lost wife, while she becomes involved with a handsome poet. Yet, despite characters clearly based on herself, her father, and her husband, the narrator’s emotional and relentlessly self-examining voice lifts the story beyond autobiographical resonance into something more transcendent: a driven tale of a brave woman’s search for love, atonement, and redemption.

It took more than a century before the manuscript Mary Shelley gave her father was rediscovered.

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Este libro reúne por primera vez tres apasionadas novelas de «la extraordinaria pareja» formada por una madre y su hija: Mary Wollstonecraft y Mary Shelley, precedidas de una valiosa introducción de Janet Todd, especialista en la obra de Mary Wollstonecraft y Jane Austen.
El núcleo de las tres obras es la exploración en torno a la identidad y a la subjetividad femeninas, atrapadas en el «círculo mágico» de la feminidad convencional y de la claustrofóbica unidad familiar. Tanto Mary como Mathilda son obras pasionales e introspectivas. Maria es una novela con más conciencia social que destaca por la manera en que pasa de la experiencia inmediata de la autora a mostrar los complejos infortunios de mujeres de diferentes clases. Está considerada el texto feminista más radical de la Wollstonecraft y supone una extensión de su famosa Vindicación de los derechos de la mujer.

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