A Year of Feminist Classics

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Tag Archives: Women

Wrap-Up: God Dies by the Nile

Title: God Dies by the Nile
Author: Saadawi, Nawal El
Length: Varies per edition, approximately 175 pages
Genre: Fiction
Original Published In: 1974

I have to start by saying what a fantastic time I’ve had this month. Due to my life finally being in order I’ve been able to participate much more than I had been able to previously. Sadly participation was lower this month but hopefully my availability continues strong and participation increases as we read books that are more available!

I started the month with an introduction to Saadawi and to this book, continued with some possible discussion questions to think of when reviewing the book, and then mid-month continued with more information and news about Saadawi. In addition to reading this title I tried to learn more about Saadawi by searching out her political protest involvement (discussed in the posts linked above) and I also tried to read more of her works. Sadly due to the Canada Post strike and lock-out two of the titles I purchased have yet to arrive on my doorstep, but I was able to read both Woman at Point Zero and The Novel. I do think that these titles helped me get a better understanding of Saadawi’s work.

Now, my thoughts on this book. I really did like it (my review is also posted at Amy Reads). Although now that SilverSeason has pointed out some of the language (translation?) issues I can’t get them out of my head (everything being pale), I still really enjoyed the language of the book. I found it very sparse and simplistic, and the use of repetition, to me, really reinforced how little possibility there was of anything changing. Through the course of the novel we see the perspective of a variety of characters through the story which, I felt, gave the reader a true overview of the situation and the true extent of the corruption.

Another thing that I enjoyed about the book was the way in which the corruption and mistreatment affected every member of the village in some way. The powerful were on edge trying to keep their power, the women suffered at the hands of men, and the men also struggle as the powerful work at different ways to access the women and so get rid of the men. The treatment of men through the story, to me, showed clearly how improving the lot of women also helps men. If the mayor can’t simply kill the man to get the woman, then the man wouldn’t suffer as much either. I loved how Saadawi showed the effects throughout not only on women but on men – I can’t help but think (sadly) that seeing that their lot will also improve will get men to pay more attention.

Lastly, throughout the novel we see again and again how religion is used by corrupt officials to trick and subjugate peasants. I thought that through this Saadawi was showing that religion itself isn’t the cause of suffering but rather a tool being used. Her choice of title, I felt, owed more to the corruption. Allah can’t really be killed, unless someone else has taken over the role of Allah as we saw in the book.

What did everyone else think? Please share your thoughts!

A few participants have already linked their reviews so I will share a brief taste of their experiences reading the book. Do click through to read their full reviews and comment!

Christina of The Blue Bookcase showed reasons why she wanted to really like the book and explains why it just didn’t work, starting by asking:

There are important issues here, ones that often occupy the minds of bleeding-heart liberals like me. God Dies has class struggle, domestic abuse, arranged marriage, female circumcision, corruption in government and religion, and even PTSD. These huge, horrible things are as relevant now as they were when the book was written in the 1970’s. So why didn’t I get all excited and activsity when I read this?

Lauren of Underneath a Book did enjoy the book more. She compares it to another book (that I need to read!), Beloved, saying:

Both women, Zakeya and Sethe, live incredibly hard lives, surviving through their wits and hard, physical labor, and are constantly tormented by the inequalities that surround them. Both Morrison and Saadawi do an incredible job of rendering even the most violent, desperate acts understandable and those who commit them human.

SilverSeason, blogging at Silver Threads, had issues with the language and translation and also points out that:

I find this novel more of a protest against the injustice of Egyptian society than a feminist tract. There is not much to choose between the abuse of men and women in the story; each is abused in accordance with his or her gender. Men are murdered and falsely accused of murder. Women are deceived and seduced and cast out. Being male does not save the “son of fornication and sin” from death at the hands of the mob.

BeachReader talked about the same thing, saying:

It is so full of despair, anger, and violence that it keeps the reader on edge because you know as you read it there is no happy ending.  Not only is it about the subjugation of women on the most bases of levels, it is also about the confinements of a social class system that’s walls are impenetrable.

Melissa of The Feminist Texican [Reads] had a post that completely blew me away (seriously Melissa, your posts are always brilliant!). She talks about how she saw a review on GoodReads that talked about the anger in the book and this got her thinking about – and discussing – the stereotype of Angry Feminist. I’ll just include a short excerpt but I highly recommend reading the whole:

As Nawal El Saadawi is a Muslim woman of color writing about disenfranchised women in an African country, the Angry Feminist label assumes a messier set of baggage when applied to this book. The Angry Woman of Color label has racist roots in both feminism and society at large. Think of the anger-related stereotypes of women of color and how they’ve been used in delegitimizing ways, even though the anger that inspired these terms is often perfectly justifiable: Bitchy Asian, Angry Black Woman, Hot-Tempered Latina, etc. Now think of the mainstream anger-related stereotype for Muslim women…I don’t think there is one. By and large, the most prevalent stereotype of Muslim women involves silence and face-covering veils.


Finally, please do add your review to the InLinkz collection below to create an easy database for participants to use to find your review and keep the discussion going!

More on Nawal El Saadawi

I apologize for the lack of structure in my post today, but I had a number of different items that I wanted to discuss with you.


For anyone who is interested, Lauren who blogs at Underneath a Book has offered her copy of God Dies by the Nile to anyone who is interested. She mentioned in a comment on the introduction post to send her an email if you are interested. I found a link to her email address on her profile page. (This copy has been spoken for already!) Thank you so much for helping out this month Lauren! (You can also check out her thoughts on the book while you are at it.)

Christina of The Blue Bookcase also offered her copy up to another participant this month (this copy was already spoken for) so I want to say a huge thank you to her as well. I love the sharing that is going on, especially for this title which sadly isn’t available free online.


I want to talk briefly about my effort to read more works by and learn more about Nawal El Saadawi. To this extent I recently finished Woman at Point Zero which was really another really interesting book. It was similar to God Dies by the Nile in that it explores issues of corruption, violence against women, and the lack of rights held by women in Egypt. It was completely different, however, in that the story is narrated by an unnamed psychiatrist who visits a woman who is set to be executed the following morning. The bulk of the novel is the story of the woman in prison’s story, as told to the psychiatrist. I really liked how the story examined issues of women’s sexuality and liberation and the different ways in which women sell themselves.

Definitely a lot of food for thought in this book.  I especially loved the way in which Saadawi uses repetition to show the ways in which Firdaus was constantly falling into the same traps. The use of repetition also underscores her slowly finding herself and learning to extricate herself from the situations in which she ended up. Although she starts off incredibly naive and trusting, she comes through the book to realize the folly of trust in anyone but herself. For more you can check out my review.

Lined up I have The Novel, Saadawi’s most recent publication, which I am hoping to read this week. I also just placed an order for The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World, and Daughter of Isis: The Autobiography of Nawal El Saadawi. I am hoping that these two books show up soon so that I can read them and discuss them this month. I am also hoping to read the former this week. After reading two of her books and finding out more about her political activism online, I wanted to know more about Saadawi herself which is why I ordered her autobiography. I have a feeling that she is an author whose entire catalog I will be reading my way through in the coming months and years!


I received a really great email from a participant / follower, Cosima Green, about some points I made in the introductory post for this month. Cosima is reading Daughter of Isis and her points to me were about things that she had read in that book (this is a large part of why I ended up ordering the book myself, so thank you!). I had responded asking if Cosima would be willing to write a post but I haven’t received a response as of yet, so thought I would talk about it briefly here.

I learned what I talked about in the introduction on Saadawi and God Dies by the Nile from the introduction to that book, what I had seen online about political activism by Saadawi, and the Wikipedia entry. One thing that Wikipedia mentions and that I mentioned as well in the introduction is the fact that apparently she was raised by her father to be strong and independent. According to her biography, however, her father didn’t figure nearly as strongly in her life as her mother did. Rather, her mother was the largest influence on both her character, her life path, and her education.

Cosima mused (if I may paraphrase loosely what I really picked out of her discussion) on the fact that we identify strongly that fathers have more of a say over the lives of their children, and it is especially noteworthy when they value the education of their female children. But why is it that we then reward them and mark them down in the history books more than the woman who oftentimes (and in this case especially) had so much more of an influence? While her father was definitely an important figure in her upbringing, he wasn’t the most important, according to Saadawi but in direct contrast to what one can learn online.

First of all I have to say a huge thank you for emailing me about this because it was really interesting to read and to think on. I think that very interesting discussions could be had both about the ways in which we reward fathers for doing the minimum, and also the ways in which we disregard the exceptional deeds of mothers. Because the Wikipedia entry leans toward discussing her father, until this email I had no idea that her mother was so much more influential. I’m interested to know – what do you, the readers, think of this? Do you think there is a solution that would have us recognize both parents equally?

Discussion Questions: God Dies on the Nile by Nawal El Saadawi

I finished reading this book on Saturday and wow, there is so much to discuss in it. I thought I’d start a post here with a few general questions for discussion either in the comments, via email (if you email me at feministclassics[at]gmail[dot]com I will put them in a post), or on your own site if you have one. If you have more questions do comment with them or email them to me and I’ll add them in.

I know that the book is harder to find and so there will be less of us discussing the title this month, but I do hope that there will be a few who join in 🙂

Overall, did you like the book? Do you think the point was to like it? Do you think Saadawi (and her translator) conveyed the ideas she meant to? There are a large number of really graphic violent and sexual acts discussed or mentioned in the book. Do you think these contributed to the story in a positive way or did they sometimes detract from it?

There was a really interesting quote that read, on page 51, “Men have always been immoral. But now the women are throwing virtue overboard, and that will lead to a real catastrophe.” I thought this was an interesting double standard that is very rarely actually acknowledged. What did you think of this?

The title, God Dies by the Nile is explained in the ending chapters of the book. Throughout the book religion is shown as corrupt but it seemed to me it was shown as corrupt in how it was practiced rather than in its true form, and that the corruption of government led to and bolstered the corruption of the religion. And it isn’t really God who dies but rather the main cause of corruption in the town. In other books we’ve discussed this month authors used the Christian religion to bolster their feminist ideas. In this one Saadawi shows the corruption of religion and how women are being oppressed and mistreated through the religion. Do you think this is a generational thing that there is a now a dissatisfaction in the thought of religion helping, or is it the fact that the book was written as a novel rather than non-fiction, or (an idea I don’t agree with but I’m interested in hearing other views!) is it because she is talking about Islam as opposed to Christianity?

Saadawi was a big presence in the recent uprisings and protests against Mubarak’s regime in Egypt. She says that democracy and women’s rights go hand in hand and can’t be separated. Do you think this is a true point? The book we are reading this month ties the corruption in the government to the oppression of women in various ways, how do you think she shows it most? Do you think her current statements fit with her earlier ones (i.e. the book)? (For more, Afirca is a Country has numerous videos with her: an interview with Newsweek, a question and answer with Al Jazeera on the link between democracy and women’s rights, and a speech by her on her books and the uprising.)

An Introduction to God Dies on the Nile by Nawal El Saadawi

Many of the ‘standard’ feminist classics that we can name off the top of our head when asked to are written by women from Europe or North America. As part of this project it was pointed out that we should expand our horizons and consider those classics coming from other parts of the world as well. (And can I just remark again how grateful I am that this suggestion was made to us!) As I’d heard quite a little bit about Saadawi and her works I thought she would be a great choice and so she was added to our list.

Saadawi is a fantastic woman to read about. I admit that I am going in to this project a little blind and know almost nothing about her except what I’ve managed to find online. She was born in 1931 outside Cairo and was actually sent to school – which was unusual for a girl at the time. Raised by her father to be strong and independent but forced at a young age to take care of her younger siblings when her parents died, she still managed to graduate medical school in Cairo in 1955. She spoke her mind and wrote about the issues that she saw affecting women even though it caused her to lose good jobs and be persecuted by the government. (Read more on Wikipedia.)

She has a long list of works to her name ranging from autobiographies of her time in the Egyptian women’s prison to non-fiction on the status of women in the Arab world to fictional novels. According to Wikipedia it is her 1972 Women and Sex that was seminal to second-wave feminism but alas, it seems to be harder to find. Instead we chose for this month her novel God Dies by the Nile which was written in 1974 as Death of the Only Man in the World  and published under the new title when translated from Arabic in 1985. The original title was meant to be God Dies by the Nile but no Arabic publishers would print the title either in Lebanon where it was first printed or later in Egypt because they said, according to the foreword, that “God cannot die” and that they didn’t want their shops burned down by fundamentalists.

The novel that we will be reading together (and I do hope that you all join in with us! I know this is a harder book to find but I think it will be very worth finding if you can), God Dies by the Nile is set in a small village on the Nile river. The cover of my edition (published by Zed Books and purchased online at Book Depository) reads:

Nawal El Saadawi’s classic attempt to square religion with a society in which women are respected as equals is as relevant today as ever.

Some of the other books that we’ve read have been very focused on Christianity (Mary Wollstonecraft for example), so I think it will be an interesting change to read a novel now that tries to square feminist ideals with Islam. The novel deals not only with religion but also with corruption and, obviously, the mistreatment of women.  I think that we will have a lot to discuss in its pages.

Saadawi also says of the book that it was inspired by stories she heard as a young girl of peasants committing suicide or running away because they become pregnant as servants to mayors and other big men, and how there is no retribution or justice for them. She says also “I finished the novel in two months. Writing it gave me enormous pleasure, a pleasure which sustained me inside prison, and which is more essential to me than breathing.”

Because I know so little about Saadawi and her works and we kind of picked this title at random, I’ve also picked up two other works by her – The Novel and Women at Point Zero to read as well through the month. Is anyone else interested in reading some of her other works and talking about them here? I would love to host anyone who would like to discuss any of her other works or her political activism! Please send me an email at feministclassics[at]gmail[dot]com or at amy[dot]mckie[at]gmail[dot]com.

Wrap-Up: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Title: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
Author: Wollstonecraft, Mary
Length: Varies per edition
Genre: Non-Fiction
Original Published In: 1792

I apologize that I’ve been rather absent in the discussion for this book. It’s been a rather busy and hectic month for me with a lot going on – I certainly hope to do better in my next months! I am working my way through the comments and posts at the moment and hope to catch up soon. I would like to say thank you for your understanding and for making the discussion such a success! I’m absolutely loving reading all of the opinions – I love nothing more than a long discussion where we can all feel free to post our thoughts irrespective of if others agree with us or not. I’m so happy to see that we can have that here! This has been a success thanks solely to you!

I admit to also failing at completing this book – luckily I read it previously last year. My thoughts on it can be seen here (back from my early days, it’s rather shame inducing to link back to earlier posts sometimes isn’t it!). I still hold to what I said at the time – namely that it is interesting to think about how far we’ve come, and how some of her ideas and opinions still make me roll my eyes. Thinking on it now though and having read more background on the book and the discussions have made me come up with many more thoughts though.

First, her arguments against passion and how they are quite a contradiction both to the passion she shows in her writing and to the way she lived her life. I’ll address first her writing. I feel that the passion she argued against is the opposite of the passion she showed in her writing – one is a passion purely based on emotion and the latter is a passion based on ideas, opinions, and education. Does anyone else see these as two different passions?

As to the contradiction between her railings against the passions women showed and the way she lived her own life, this is a harder one for many reasons. In one sense I want to say that she should have practiced what she preached. In another sense I wonder if we don’t often talk about things in the ideal knowing that we are not yet there ourselves. Just because she didn’t live up to her own arguments, does that detract from her arguments or rather just show her as being as human as the rest of us? I’m unsure, really. She was rather vehement in them by times and doesn’t really address her own shortcomings. I am apt to let her off the hook as simply human though.

Second, it really is hard to read the book as an atheist in some senses. Her arguments are quite couched in religion and a Godly sense of duty. It’s hard for me to place myself in the time period, but I do believe that religion was a much larger presence in everyone’s life at that time. A lot of the arguments against women’s participating as active members of society was put in religious terms. If those are true (I’m showing here my lack of knowledge of the time, I know!) then it makes sense for her to use the terms both of her personal belief and of those she is arguing against. By maintaining their framework she would make it easier for them to understand and perhaps help to sway them. Such arguments would hold much less weight today given that religion isn’t as large a presence, and I believe her arguments would be different, so I feel it is really a matter of time and place that causes this.

The third thing that the discussion has impressed upon me is the quickness with which the book was writing and obvious need for editing that still shows itself. This makes me consider the background behind her writing and why it was written so quickly. I so wish that she had had the time and opportunity to write the second part as she had planned to. I would love to know what this second part would show.

Lastly, it is really hard to read the book and not get angry at some of Wollstonecraft’s arguments. She still thinks that women should be primarily mothers, that they are not as strong as men, that they shouldn’t try to be equal. All ideas that we would scoff at now… but it is important to remember, for myself anyway, when the book was written and the ideas and culture of the time. At the time this was a big step, and we wouldn’t have the ideas we have now if we hadn’t started with our feminism at some beginning point in history.

What do you think of my ideas and opinions from the discussion? I have seen arguments and discussions from all sides on all of these topics and I’ve really loved how it’s changed my opinions on some of the points. Now I want to know what you think! Do you agree with me? Disagree with me? Think I should be pelted with tomatoes (heh)? I’d love to know where you stand!

For the wrap-up of So Long a Letter yesterday I posted a summary of what the commenters had said up until the point of when I wrote it. With this book there have been such a huge amount of discussion posts and ideas that I am sorry to say that I won’t be able to do a wrap-up like that! Instead I will point you to the absolutely fantastic discussion that has been ongoing on the discussion post here.

If you have written about the book, please add your link using the link below.

A Bit More on A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Thank you so much to SilverSeason who pointed out that this book can be acquired free online. The books can be found:

  • On Project Gutenberg – A number of her Mary Wollstonecraft’s works are available here including an electronic and an audio version of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.
  • On Amazon.com for Kindle – I, in Canada, can only seem to find it for $0.89 or higher, there are a number of versions available though quite cheaply. In other parts of the world you may find different prices or versions. You can download the free Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac application to read the books on your computer.
  • On Barnes and Noble for Nook – again, I see a number of options starting at $0.99. I believe you can also download a free application to read Nook books on your computer or smartphone.
  • Has anyone else found it free (or cheap) anywhere else for me to add to the list?

A Bit of a Ramble and a Question for Readers

I have been reading through the introduction material in my copy of the book and came across a quote that made me so happy that we are reading this book and I just had to share it right away. A Vindication of the Rights of Man was written primarily as a response to a piece written by Edmund Burke that denounced the French Revolution and their attempts at democracy. The introduction to the text I am reading says on page 10:

Burke himself claimed to not to have read it [The Vindication of the Rights of Man] (Correspondence 6:214), but his ignorance of her critique of his Reflections did not prevent him from describing Wollstonecraft (in 1975) as one of “that Clan of desperate, Wicked, and mischievously ingenious Women, who have brought, or are likely to bring Ruin and shame upon all those that listen to them” (Correspondence 8: 304).

I figure anyone who garnered that kind of reaction is certainly worth reading! I certainly giggled at the quote.

I want to point out the two posts that Jillian at A Room of One’s Own has posted on Wollstonecraft over the past three days. She posted an introduction about how Wollstonecraft has been considered through the ages titled Mary Wollstonecraft – a “bitch”?. The post was a hilarious look at early feminism (like, Wollstonecraft and even one who came before her!).

Her second post was titled A thought: On reading history and in it she talks about how exciting it is to think of all of those historical figures through the ages who have read the same book and had similar thoughts on it. Fascinating!

What that quote I shared, as well as everything else I’ve read on Wollstonecraft including Jillian’s two posts, has made me think of is how important reputation was to female authors and intellectuals (and all females really). If we think of historic male writers they could do anything they wanted in their personal lives with no (or at least little) repercussions to what people thought of their intellectual works and articles. As a female author Wollstonecraft was vilified and her works ignored and forgotten once the truth came out about her life after her death.

Wikipedia reads:

In January 1798 Godwin published his Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Although Godwin felt that he was portraying his wife with love, compassion, and sincerity, many readers were shocked that he would reveal Wollstonecraft’s illegitimate children, love affairs, and suicide attempts.[45] The Romantic poet Robert Southey accused him of “the want of all feeling in stripping his dead wife naked” and vicious satires such as The Unsex’d Females were published.[46]

I talked briefly about this in my last post, saying that reaction to her Vindication of the Rights of Woman was actually quite favorable and opinion only changed after her death. I am very interested in hearing your opinion on this matter.

Were you as surprised as I was that the reaction was initially favorable to this work? And surprised at how devastating the repercussions of the memoir were? I am of the opinion that Godwin, being a male, probably assumed the same standards he was subjected to would be the standards that Wollstonecraft would be judged by and so saw nothing wrong with talking about the details of her life. I wonder if he was surprised at the reaction his book actually received.

Do you think reputation and life still matters as much for women in terms of their intellectual achievements? Would women’s works today be dismissed after details of their personal lives came out? Unfortunately while I think things have improved slightly, I think a female is still held to much more stringent morals and values.

I’d be interested to hear your opinions on both thoughts in the comments!

Another post on the topic shows up here from De Zesde Clan. I can’t translate it, but I thank the author of the website for joining us and discussing this book and Mary Wollstonecraft with us.

Note: If you have posted a discussion on the topic of this book or author please add your link in the comments and I will add it to the next round-up / discussion post.

In closing, a quick SQUEE of excitement that we’ve been mentioned on The F Word, a contemporary UK feminist blog! I do hope that we get more participants through that and I look forward to the discussions!

Introduction to A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft

Welcome to our Year of Feminist Classics project. We begin today with A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft.

I read A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in March 2010 and thought it was a fantastic book. I wrote a short review of it here. At the time I thought it was a book with a lot in it to discuss and contemplate and so am very happy that we are starting with it for our project. The text is considered the first document of feminism by many, so what better one to start with?

I apologize that this month may be a little less structured than the ones to come. I am still figuring out how best to do this. I have a degree in business and mathematics, so don’t feel like you need any grounding in literary theory or criticism to join in with us – these discussions will be for anyone who is a fan of the written word!

This month, if you recall from our reading list, we are also reading Mariama Bâ‘s So Long a Letter. As it is a much shorter text (and I forgot that I had lent my copy to a friend!) I thought we would start looking at it in the second half of the month.

An Introduction to the Text

Image from Wikipedia of the First American Edition of the book.

The book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, calls for women to have greater autonomy and a greater role in their lives. It specifically attacked the double standard that was exhibited and legislated in Europe. It was well received when it was published, and it wasn’t until later that the author and her works fell into disrepute (see the biography below). The book was as a direct response to current events with a second volume planned. Unfortunately the author died before a second volume could be written – just think of how fascinating that could have been!

Many have said that Wollstonecraft isn’t a feminist and didn’t consider herself a feminist. Her ideas are clearly not the feminist ideas that we have today. To that I point out that history is always progressing. As one of the earliest advocates in writing of equality and removing the sexual double standard, Wollstonecraft was clearly working toward the feminist ideas we hold today. If it were not for her and others like her, we wouldn’t have the ideas that we have today. I look forward to discussing this in more detail through the month.

My version is the Broadview Press Anthology which includes a few introductions, a chronology of the author’s life, A Vindication of the Rights of Men, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, and a number of appendices that include additional information about the revolution, the education debate, and reviews. I’m a little bit geeked out by it all!

Whatever version you have, through the next few weeks we will be reading it and I will be coming up with some discussion questions. If you have any questions or comments that you would like to be part of the discussion send us an email at feministclassics[at]gmail[dot]com.

A Quick Biography of the Author

Image from Wikipedia of the author.

Mary Wollstonecraft was born on April 27th, 1759 in London. Her biography on Wikipedia is fascinating reading and I highly suggest checking it out.  She was always had a strong woman and protected her mother, sisters, and friends growing up. She convinced her sister to leave her husband, they and a friend set up a school together, she worked as a governess for some time, until eventually embarking upon a career as a writer. Wollstonecraft translated a number of texts as well as writing her own. The most famous of these is A Vindication of the Rights of Women (in 1792) which was written shortly after she wrote Vindication of the Rights of Man in response to the French revolution in 1790.

After writing the book Wollstonecraft went to France to try living out her ideas. While there she fell in love with Gilbert Imlay and ended up having his child. She was registered as his wife to avoid being put in danger after Britain declared war on France in 1793. Despite this they were never actually married and he showed no interest in marriage or their child. Over the next few years she tried to kill herself twice (in 1795 and 1796) in response to her situation supporting herself and her child alone.

Eventually Wollstonecraft got back in to writing in London and met William Goodwin who fell in love with her and they were eventually married after she again became pregnant in 1797. They lived in separate houses to retain their independence and appeared to have a very happy relationship. She died on September 10, 1797 due to complications resulting from childbirth.

After her death Goodwin was devastated and wrote a memoir of her which laid bare her illegitimate child, love affairs and suicide attempts which of course, given the time, resulted in her reputation being torn to shreds and her writing seemed to lose credibility. Her work was then tied with her person, and she was vilified through the years until finally the early feminists in America revived her legacy beginning in 1884. New biographies have come out numerous times since coinciding with new feminist thought.

I hope that many of you will join with us in reading and discussing this text. I look forward to hearing your opinions and thoughts on it. Again, if you have any contributions in terms of discussion points, questions, or anything else, please don’t hesitate to email us at feministclassics[at]gmail[dot]com.