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Jessica Stavig February 20, 2009. Her Parents: William Godwin Mary Wollstonecraft Both were enlightenment thinkers Her Husband: Percy Shelley A free enlightenment/romantic.

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Presentation on theme: "Jessica Stavig February 20, 2009. Her Parents: William Godwin Mary Wollstonecraft Both were enlightenment thinkers Her Husband: Percy Shelley A free enlightenment/romantic."— Presentation transcript:

1 Jessica Stavig February 20, 2009

2 Her Parents: William Godwin Mary Wollstonecraft Both were enlightenment thinkers Her Husband: Percy Shelley A free enlightenment/romantic thinker

3 A very radical philosopher Founded philosophical anarchism (Philp) Important Philosophical Works: Political Justice (1793) The Enquirer (1798) Thoughts on Man (1831) His novel Caleb Williams (1794)

4 Defined mainly in An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793) Argument: government is a corrupting force in society, perpetuating dependence and ignorance, but that it will be rendered increasingly unnecessary and powerless by the gradual spread of knowledge. Politics will be displaced by an enlarged personal morality as truth conquers error and mind subordinates matter. (Philp) Due to this argument, he rejected forms of mental enslavements, such as law, private property, marriage and concerts. (Philp) The idea of the corrupting force in society is directly taken from Rousseau. He expands on Rousseau to explain more specifically that criminals are a result of corruption in society and stresses the importance of education.

5 Defined as utilitarian (Philp) Equality: Godwins An Account of a Seminary - the state of society is incontestably artificial; the power of one man over another must always derive from convention of from conquest; by nature we are equal (Smith) = Locke Education: Godwins An Account of a Seminary -but our moral dispositions and character depend very much, perhaps entirely, upon education. (Smith) = Locke and experience Famous Fire Case: This requires that an individual choose one of two people to save from a fire. One is the Archbishop of Fenelon, a benefactor to the whole human race, and the other is that individuals mother or father (depending on the edition read). (Philps) Godwins conclusion: Save Fenelon in order to act justly. Actions should benefit the common good. Note: Professor Drake - I Robot movie

6 A very radical writer, intellect, and feminist (Kreis)

7 Applies Locke: the equality of all people Writes as a response to Rousseaus Emile from Marriage and his proposition that females are inferior and should have different forms of education. Rousseau: Once it has been shown that men and women are essentially different in character and temperament, it follows that they ought not to have the same education….their education must be wholly directed to their relations with men. (Rousseau, ) Wollstonecraft: meanwhile, strength of body and mind are sacrificed to libertine notions of beauty, to the desire of establishing themselves, - the only way women can rise in the world, - by marriage. And this desire making mere animals of them, when they marry they act as such children may be expected to act: - they dress; they paint, and nickname Gods creatures. (Wollstonecraft)

8 Proposes a strong view on Education: a profound conviction that the neglected education of my fellow creatures is the grand source of the misery I deplore; and that women, in particular, are rendered weak and wretched by a variety of concurring causes, originating from one hasty conclusion. … One cause of this barren blooming I attribute to a false sense of education, gathered from the books written on this subject by men who considering females rather as women than human creatures, have been more anxious to make them alluring mistresses than wives (Wollstonecraft) Addresses masculinity: She says: obtain a character as a human being, regardless of the distinction of sex. (Wollstonecraft)

9 Desires to persuade: I wish to persuade women to endeavor to acquire strength, both of mind and body, and to convince them that the soft phrases, susceptibility of heart, delicacy of sentiment, and refinement of taste are almost synonymous with the epithets of weakness, and that those beings who are only the objects of pity and that kind of love, which has been termed its sister, will soon become objects of contempt. (Wollstonecraft) Basically, women shouldnt live to appeal to men. Enforces strongly the enlightenment ideal of reason: some women govern their husbands without degrading themselves, because intellect will always govern. (Wollstonecraft)

10 When he was sixteen he joined up with William Godwin and adopted his philosophy. He too was a very radical philosopher and poet. He was very outspoken, challenging oppression, religion, and convention as well as calling for revolution and change. (Merriman) He used his poems to convey these ideas.

11 1797, August 30: Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin is born and 10 days later her mother dies of puerperal fever, due to child birth complications. 1798: After the death of his wife, Godwin publishes her biography, Memoirs of the Author of the Vindication of the Rights of Women, and in so doing airs all her dirty laundry: the affair with Gilbert Imlay which resulted in their illegitimate child Fanny two attempts of suicide, the premarital relations that she and Godwin shared. (Mellor, 2) Godwin remarries to Mary Jane Clairmont, which gives Fanny and Mary a stepsister Claire. Growing up was difficult Mary is tutored at home in enlightement writings

12 1812: Percy Bysshe Shelley comes into contact with Godwin 1814: Mary, age 16, and Shelley, still a married man, elope in France and tour around with Claire. In their travels of France, they witness the burned villages and wreckage that the Napoleonic Wars have caused. 1815: Percy and Mary have a daughter named Clara who dies after a few weeks 1816: Mary is 19 - Both Fanny and Percy Shelleys ex-wife, who is pregnant, commit suicide, Percy Shelley and Mary get married, their son William is born, time is spent with the famous poet Byron in Geneva.

13 June May 1817: Mary writes Frankenstein or; The Modern Prometheus, of which the introduction is written by Percy. 1817: They have another daughter who they name Clara, but she dies after a year. Mary and Percy move back to Italy, now on better terms with Marys father because they were married. 1819: Their son William, age 3, dies, and Percy Florence is born 1822: Mary almost looses her life due to a miscarriage. While sailing in the Don Juan, Percy, age 30 drowns and Mary compiles The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe (1824)

14 1823: Mary and her son Percy return to England, she continues writing, and fights illness 1824: At age 26 Byron dies of illness while fighting for the independence of Greece from Turkey 1851, February 1: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley dies at age 54 in London Information from: Mellor, Merriman, and Drake

15 Locke: Equality Experience Rousseau: Man is innately good but becomes corrupted by society Father: Society corrupts people and that is what results in criminals Science is the answer and will end death In general, he did not side with compassion, but believed in making only rational choices (for the benefit of society, the common good) Mother Criticism of masculinity: man has a right to his child. (Drake) When this idea takes form in Frankenstein, Shelley basically uses this also as a criticism of her father who raised her after her mother died. Some feminists think that Frankenstein is more of an attack on what happens when a man (Victor Frankenstein) raises a child. (Drake) Importance of education and experience

16 Mary Shelley: She fuses all these ideas together into a broad theme: we are what we are trained to become, behavior is learned, and therefore it is Nurture over Nature. (Drake)

17 1) According to Wollstonecraft, a degree of physical superiority [of men over women] cannot, therefore, be denied…, but if women are intellectually or emotionally inferior to men, it is due specifically to what? What, in general, does Wollstonecraft blame for the seeming inferiority of women? Pick One: a) Domestic abuse b) Raising children. c) Biased Language d) False Education e) Sexual intercourse

18 2) According to Wollstonecraft, the minds of women are enfeebled by… Pick One: a) False Refinement b) Childbirth c) Sexual Intercourse d) Nursing Children e) Industrialism

19 3) According to Wollstonecraft, what separates man from "brute creation" (beasts)? a) Beauty b) Sexual propriety c) Divine blessing d) Industrialism e) Reason

20 4) "My own sex, I hope, will forgive me if I treat them like…" a) "rational creatures instead of flattering their fascinating graces" b) "the slaves of brutish man" c) "mere prostitutes in the house of Satan's capitalist desire"

21 5) If women act like children, it is because a) of Adam's actual corruption of Eve, which priests inverted b) they are educated to be so c) they spend all their time raising children, "who influence their feminine minds" d) of societys corrupting influence of natural goodness

22 So after reading the Vindication - what do you think about the idea of nature vs. nurture and gender? What is Wollstonecraft saying and do you agree or disagree?

23 Kreis, Steven. "Mary Wollstonecraft, " Lectures on Modern European Intellectual History. 13 May The History Guide. 22 Feb Mellor, Anne K.. Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters. USA: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, Inc., Merriman, CD. "Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley." The Literature Network Jalic Inc. 22 Feb Merriman, CD. "Percy Bysshe Shelley." The Literature Network Jalic Inc. 22 Feb Philp, Mark. "William Godwin." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Metaphysics Research Lab, CSLI, Stanford University. 26 Feb Professor Tom Drakes Notes: Smith, Mark K. "William Godwin and Informal Education." Infed Search. 26 Feb * Taken from this is the quoted portion of Godwins An Account of a Seminary, 1783 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. "Emile: from Marriage." The Norton Anthology: Western Literature (Volume 2). "8th ed." Wollstonecraft, Mary. "Introduction." Mary Wollstonecraft ( ). A Vindication of the Rights of Woman Bartleby.com. 22 Feb "1792 A Vindication of the Rights o Women by Mary Wollstonecraft: Table of Contents." 22 Feb


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