Thursday, January 31, 2013

A new guidebook to the Vindication

Tomorrow marks the publication of the long-awaited Routledge Guidebook to Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, as part of a series of "guides to the great books". This is by philosopher Sandrine Berges, whose work we have looked at before, and who kindly wrote a guest post about how Mary Wollstonecraft came into her life. 
Four years ago, I barely knew who she was. Then a (male) colleague suggested we introduce the two Vindications to our survey course in political philosophy. It was love at first read...
She spoke at the philosophers' confab a year ago, for the 220th anniversary of MW's magnum opus:
Wollstonecraft offers one of the very few existing philosophical discussions of the virtue of chastity... Her account is somewhat complicated by the fact that she explains chastity as a derivative of modesty, not understood as a sexual virtue, but a just understanding of one's own worth.
If I get my hands on a Routledge Guidebook (paperback, £17; hardback, £75; etheric booke, not yet released), I'd be delighted to review it here. In the meantime, we'll have to do with the publisher's description:

Mary Wollstonecraft was one of the greatest philosophers and writers of the Eighteenth century. During her brief career, she wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution, a conduct book, and a children's book. Her most celebrated and widely-read work is A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. This Guidebook introduces:
  • Wollstonecraft’s life and the background to A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
  • The ideas and text of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
  • Wollstonecraft’s enduring influence in philosophy and our contemporary intellectual life
It is ideal for anyone coming to Wollstonecraft’s classic text for the first time and anyone interested in the origins of feminist thought.


  1. Thanks for posting this, Roberta!
    I would wait a bit for a copy if I were you (and send me your mail address) as there's definitely one coming your way from Turkey (soon as it gets here, anyway!).

  2. Looking forward to your review. :)