Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

The Compelling Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft to Gilbert Imlay By Katie Merriam.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "The Compelling Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft to Gilbert Imlay By Katie Merriam."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Compelling Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft to Gilbert Imlay By Katie Merriam

2 What makes these letters so compelling to readers? Generations of readers from William Godwin to Lyndall Gordon have felt the evocative power of the letters It is the distinctive rhetoric of the love letters that makes them so compelling

3 Versions of the Letters The edited version of the actual letters that Wollstonecraft sent to Imlay Wollstonecrafts Letters Written during a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark which were written solely for publication, not to be sent to Imlay

4 Rhetorical Strategy: Intimate Details Gives the reader the sense of being in close proximity to Wollstonecraft and Imlays relationship Affectionate Diction –My dear Love, my dearest, your own dear girl –God bless you= kiss –Uses some of the same expressions in her letters to Godwin but far less frequently and for a different purpose Sexual Insinuations –I hope to tell you soon (on your lips) how glad I shall be to see you –Reminds Imlay of their sexual relationship and bond as lovers –Used in a flirtatious way to entice reader

5 Intimate Details Continued Domestic Imagery –Wollstonecraft uses to convince Imlay to return home; brings readers beyond the content of the letters – Routine domesticity Imlays slippers Fireside Walks and reading –Fanny Used to waken Imlays parental attachment to his daughter Daily events in Fannys life that Imlay must miss Wollstonecraft also references Fanny in her letters to Godwin, but these references are less compelling because Fanny is not his biological child

6 Rhetorical Strategy: Tension between Vulnerability and Independence Vulnerability used to appeal to Imlays pity and instinct to care for his lover –References to illness, falling on rocks, emotional weakness –Parasite plant imagery –Rousseaus Solitary Walker Independence to entice Imlay by showing him that she does not need him –Other men, threats to leave him –Images of flight and ascension –Refuses Imlays pecuniary offerings, resolves to find works –I part with you in peace

7 Rhetorical Strategy: Tension between Vulnerability and Independence Continued Tension between vulnerability and independence draws reader into Wollstonecrafts internal struggle to both express and regulate her affections for her lover It also makes the reader sympathize with Wollstonecraft because she has changing human emotions that the reader understands

8 Rhetorical Strategy: Changing Moods Ebb and flow of intensity and mood from light and happy to agitated to morose Frequently breaks off in passion and frustration Wollstonecrafts use of punctuation is an indication of her state of mind

9 People Influenced by the Letters William Godwin –Letters calculated to make a man fall in love with the author Mary Shelley –History of a Six Weeks Tour:1817 –Similar characteristics of letters Percy Shelley –Became enamored with Wollstonecraft after reading the letters –Eloped with Mary Shelley- Godwin and Wollstonecrafts child of love and light Claire Claremont –Free Love –Illegitimate child and remaking of herself in Russia

10 Importance of the Letters for Modern Readers Are the letters compelling to modern readers, and if so, what makes them compelling? Do the letters teach the reader anything about how rhetoric should be used to express emotion? Do the letters teach the modern reader anything about the nature of love or about Wollstonecrafts definition of love?

Download ppt "The Compelling Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft to Gilbert Imlay By Katie Merriam."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google