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The Victim of Prejudice

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3.22  ·  Rating Details ·  94 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Librarian's Note: This is the second edition - ISBN 13: 9781551112176

“This early feminist novel should be read by anyone interested in the literary history of the sexualized female, in women’s studies, or in British Romantic Literature.” — Anne K. Mellor, UCLA
Paperback, Second Edition, 260 pages
Published October 9th 1998 by Broadview Press (first published 1799)
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Emily
Sep 23, 2014 Emily rated it it was amazing
Honestly, failed romance in the Regency/Victorian period is usually hilarious. Somebody sees somebody else's ankle, or swoons and winds up emigrating, or their cousin turns out to be a rake, but this is deadly serious. Mary Hays is another of MaryWollstonecraft's friends and her second novel, A Victim of Prejudice, blows away people like me who read Gothic romances ironically. As Sir Peter Osbourne would say, "D–mn." I hate Sir Peter Osbourne. Mary Hay's protagonist, Mary (they didn't have a lot ...more
Matthew Collins
May 04, 2012 Matthew Collins rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. Great ending in my opinion. SPOILER ALERT. I like that nothing ended really happy. I felt that Hays did a great job portraying the issues women went through back then. I do admit a little that it does get tiring reading 18th century novels and having all the women fainting all the time, or randomly balling up into tears, but looking past that I actually liked the heroine of this novel, which is hard to say about some of the other heroine's from other 18th century novels abou ...more
Brenda
Apr 01, 2014 Brenda rated it liked it
*Potential spoilers (the "spoilers" I write about are written in the back cover of my book... but maybe you don't want to know)*

Looking for English literature classics, I found this book. I'd never heard of Mary Hays before. She was an intellectual radical who published "The victim of prejudice" in 1799.

What are the life choices available for an educated woman with no fortune or contacts? Only servitude or prostitution. All other doors are closed for her. Without a (male) protector, she is lost.
...more
Helen
Nov 08, 2015 Helen rated it liked it
I understand where Hays is coming from. She is trying to reveal the double-standards of her contemporary society in which a woman who "falls," whether it is her free choice or she is assaulted, is automatically condemned to the margins of society. Without character or credit and persecuted by a ruthless villain, the heroine Mary has nothing to do but expire, filled with the conviction that she knows herself to be irreproachable, not matter what the world may say. The annoying thing about any did ...more
Dominick
Apr 07, 2016 Dominick rated it it was ok
This is a useful edition of a book with perhaps more historical importance than literary merit. As a proto-feminist novel deploring the hypocritical social standards about female chastity (once tainted never redeemable, according to the book and to a large extent according to history), regardless of how said chastity is lost, this novel raised legitimate questions about the plight of women (or genteel ones, anyway; it is hard to read in 2016 a book in which the deplorable social conditions affec ...more
Heather
Nov 25, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it
I have little interest in gender issues or politics, which made this novel difficult for me. However, I can say that it is well-written, though not necessarily complex. Hays presents the clear-cut argument in the atmosphere and debate of her own time. Simplicity, rather than complexity, may be what the debate needed at the time. It is a quick read, and interesting if you like gender issues.
Elizabeth Kiss
May 06, 2015 Elizabeth Kiss rated it it was amazing
Pretty amazing piece of literature, especially since it was written in 1799. Definitely recommend to anyone interested in feminist literature.
whitney  Jordan
Mar 26, 2014 whitney Jordan rated it did not like it
Shelves: school
I HATED IT!
Annaj
Nov 13, 2013 Annaj rated it it was amazing
It took me a long time to get through this book. The language required me to go very slowly so that I could understand exactly what was being said. It was beautiful. "... guard her helpless youth from a pitiless world, cultivate her reason, make her feel her nature's worth, strengthen her faculties, inure her to suffer hardship, rouse her to independence, inspire her with fortitude, with energy, with self-respect, and teach her to contemn tyranny that would impose fetters of sex upon her mind."
Diana
Oct 20, 2007 Diana rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Feminists
Mary Hays is a writer that is often excluded from the canon. Although her writing can be a bit melodramatic and depressing at times, she also fiercely argues for the rights of women while illustrating the many injustices they endure. A friend of both William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, it is not difficult to see the influence of their Romantic/feminist philosophies in Hays's fiction.
Han
Aug 17, 2011 Han rated it liked it
Shelves: college-required
Pleasantly surprised by how similar this was to Jane Austen and works of that genre. I'm not sure why this book is rarely seen, both in schools and in the market. (There is only one edition available on Amazon and the Columbus library system owns zero copies, which I've never experienced before.) It's short and sweet (well, in some aspects...) and definitely worth the read.
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“I put in no claims either for happiness, for gratification, or even for the common comforts of life: yet, surely, I had a right to exist!” 2 likes
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