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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $15.00
  • June 2009
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-92974-4
  • 416 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Norton Critical Editions

Third Edition


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Mary Wollstonecraft (Author), Deidre Shauna Lynch (Editor, University of Toronto)


Arguably the most original book of the eighteenth century, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is a pioneering feminist work.

Written during a time of great political turmoil, social anxiety, and against the backdrop of the French Revolution, Wollstonecraft’s argument continues to challenge and inspire. This revised and expanded Third Edition is again based on the 1792 second-edition text and is accompanied by revised and expanded explanatory annotations.

“Backgrounds and Contexts” is also significantly expanded and contains twenty-four works organized thematically into these groupings: “Legacies of English Radicalism,” “Education,” “Wollstonecraft’s Revolutionary Moment,” and “The Wollstonecraft Debate.” Opinions on a variety of reforms that may be compared and contrasted with Wollstonecraft’s include those by John Milton, John Locke, Mary Astell, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Hannah More, Richard Price, Edmund Burke, Maria Edgeworth, and William Godwin, among others.

“Criticism” includes six seminal essays on A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Elissa S. Guralnick, Mitzi Myers, Cora Kaplan, Mary Poovey, Claudia L. Johnson, and Barbara Taylor.

A Chronology of Wollstonecraft’s life and work and a Selected Bibliography are also included.


    Preface to the Third Edition

    Note on the Text

    The Text of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects

    Backgrounds and Contexts


    1. John Milton, From Paradise Lost
    2. John Locke, From Second Treatise of Civil Government
    3. Mary Astell, From Reflections upon Marriage


    1. John Locke, From Some Thoughts Concerning Education
    2. Mary Astell, From A Serious Proposal to the Ladies
    3. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, From Emilius and Sophia; or, A New System of Education
    4. John Gregory, From A Father’s Legacy to His Daughters
    5. Catharine Macaulay, From Letters on Education
    6. Hannah More, From Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education


    1. Richard Price, From A Discourse on the Love of Our Country
    2. Edmund Burke, From Reflections on the Revolution in France
    3. Mary Wollstonecraft, From A Vindication of the Rights of Men
    4. Mary Wollstonecraft, From An Historical and Moral View of the Origin and Progress of the French Revolution


    1. Anonymous, From Review of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
    2. William Enfield, From Review of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
    3. Anna Laetitia Barbauld, “The Rights of Woman”
    4. Thomas Taylor, From A Vindication of the Rights of Brutes
    5. Mary Hays, From Letters and Essays, Moral and Miscellaneous
    6. William Godwin, From Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
    7. Richard Polwhele, From The Unsex’d Females
    8. Mary Hays, From Memoirs of Mary Wollstonecraft
    9. Maria Edgeworth, From Belinda
    10. Benjamin Silliman, From The Letters of Shahcoolen
    11. William Thompson, FromAppeal of One Half the Human Race, Women, Against the Pretensions of the Other Half, Men


    1. Elissa S. Guralnick, Radical Politics in Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
    2. Mitzi Myers, Reform or Ruin: “A Revolution in Female Manners”
    3. Cora Kaplan, From Wild Nights: Pleasure/Sexuality/Feminism
    4. Mary Poovey, [A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and Female Sexuality]
    5. Claudia L. Johnson, From The Distinction of the Sexes
    6. Barbara Taylor, The Religious Foundations of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Feminism

    Mary Wollstonecraft, A Chronology

    Selected Bibliography