Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year-end overview

The final quarter of the year. A good one for Mary Wollstonecraft, and not a bad one for this blog.

From October to December, we saw talks about Mary delivered (to the Women's Institute, once called "the acceptable face of feminism", and the Fawcett Society, no doubt likewise) and promised (to the London Socialist Historians). Another talkfest to look forward to is a conference in Florida, complementing the philosophers' confab in Sweden, both on the same day in February, to commemorate the 220th anniversary of the publication of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Books have grown more expensive over the centuries: two academic ones I found were eye-wateringly so, indeed kidney-sellingly so.

More cheeringly, in the autumn we've covered artistic projects, upside down in New York and right way up in Bradford. A substantial triumph was the broadcasting of the Dutch Humanist TV programme which devoted an episode to Mary's philosophy and her impact on our times. Here's an overview with a bit about me, the amusing animated biography with translation (and great comments), and the entire half-hour episode. We had a surprise hit with the paper doll dress-up (plus image, later), and we are not short of fun distractions such as Fakebook and more zombies. I've staked my claim on Tumblr, though if I ever use it, 'twill only be with the help of that Chicago anarchist Voltairine de Cleyre (a Lost Daughter of whom I wrote half a year ago). I closed 2011 by sharing a lovingly created resource, London Remembers, which lists some of the memorials to Mary.

Of course, it cannot list the statue to her on Newington Green, because that is still in the planning stages. It has been a good few months for Mary on the Green.  I wrote up an overview early on in the autumn, but soon this had to be updated, with the big splash of the projection of her image onto the Houses of Parliament and the welcome announcement of winning more than £6000.

As for actual blogstuff:

Over October, November, and December there have been 26 posts, including this one; perhaps an average of two updates a week is sustainable. 

The pageviews in the last month are 6862; those from all time are 18 449. So a little over a third of all views have been in the last quarter. If we assume that each page is viewed for a minute (and yes, that is a number plucked from the air; I'd welcome any better analytics), then this blog is providing an hour and a quarter of amusement and edification each day. Perhaps the balance has tipped, and it is now giving as much to the world as I am giving to it, purely in terms of time. On the one hand these seem like large numbers; the vast majority of my readers are unknown to me; comments are few. (Please say hello! At the foot of a post, or by email, or on Twitter @RobertaWedge.)  On the other hand, the numbers look puny. My only real outreach is on Twitter, where @1759MaryWol1797 has over a thousand followers; I haven't tackled the blogosphere with any strategy. To do, to do. 

Top ten posts, overall:
  1. Mary's story, for those new to her - nearly 1000 views
  2. A first attempt at translation (of the Vindication) - over 500
  3. Mary on the Houses of Parliament
  4. Written on the body; or, wearing one's heart on one's epidermis - the tattoo
  5. Mary and the Slutwalk
  6. Mary in St Pancras
  7. Formal Fawcetts fall for first feminist
  8. Statues in Canada
  9. Mary on the Green
  10. Mary, molls, and modesty
Some of the search terms that people typed into Google (these are not the common ones, but they made me smile):
  • did jane austen read mary wollstonecraft 
  • statues with hats
and my favourite
  • gay cruising spots in somers town, st. pancras, uk 
To which Google responds:
Tip: These results include the word "sex". Show results that include only "cruising".
(It can only be because I described the site of Mary's first grave as holding a memorial to another Famous Dead Bisexual Woman. "Bisexual" plus "cemetery" probably triggers the algorithm.)

As for new skills, I learned how to embed video. It's tricky, because mean ol' Google-owned Blogger only allows Google-owned YouTube videos, not even uploads from files one holds, and certainly not from rival video hosting site Vimeo. Twitter provided helpful advice, and the unabridged 30 minutes was somehow transferred by the Humanists onto YT, and thus I got to embed the whole thing. I think this is a small step forward.

And a big step into the new year. What will 2012 hold for this blog, and for Mary Wollstonecraft's legacy around the world?  Her spirit stirs, and projects perculate!


  1. Just wanted to tell you that I simply love this blog and have come to love and respect Mary even more. I have learn so many things that otherwise I wouldn't have known. Thank you very much for the time and dedication you take in maintaining this blog.

  2. That is so kind of you to say so, Vertigo! May I beg a boon? Please tell a few choice friends about this blog. I'm not suggesting you spam your addressbook, or whatever people do these days. Just choose a select handful, and introduce them to me, or vice versa. I want Mary to win more fans.