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Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman

3.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  470 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman is Mary Wollstonecraft's unfinished novelistic sequel to her revolutionary political treatise A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. It was published posthumously in 1798 by her husband, William Godwin. Maria revolves around the story of a woman imprisoned in an insane asylum by her husband, and focuses on the societal rather than the individu ...more
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Published (first published 1798)
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Catriona (LittleBookOwl)
3.5/5 stars
This was quite a radical feminist text!
Since the author died before the completion of this work, it's hard to give it a higher rating, but I did quite enjoy what I read.

Name me a white man whose authorial repute and chain of influence was sunken for a century or more not out of obscurity or lack of opportunity, but reputation. They said some things, they slept around, they did one or the other or all the actions prescribed as social ills by some and declared as damnation by the voices that count. Come. Just one. Considering the rate at which famous names of that demographic are revealed to be murderers and rapists and pedophiles, it can't be hard to find j
Shauna Robinson
Has some very interesting and eyebrow raising content, but the novel lacks fluidity and reads like a fractured melodramatic biography of oppressed women's lives.
Jackie Keating
Oct 15, 2015 Jackie Keating rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wollstonecraft was way ahead of her time with this feminist novel, outlining everything that was wrong with British society in the 1780s and 90s.
J. Alfred
Sort of irritating in that this is a fragment: the author died before she could finish putting it together. Apparently the text as we have it is only about a third of the whole. There are some fragments, including a prospective ending, as well as some notes on how the plot would develop, which are interesting, but basically the whole is a big object lesson for the ideas she lays out in "a vindication of the rights of women."
2.5 stars

I really appreciate Mary Wollstonecraft's feminist thoughts and she was really brave to write Maria but I didn't enjoy the writing style nor the way the story was told. I think non-fiction is a better genre for Wollstonecraft.
Rima Rashid
She should stick to the day job instead of writing fiction.
Nov 08, 2015 Helen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This fragment is a promising start to what might have been an intriguing novel. Unfortunately, Wollstonecraft died giving birth to her daughter, Mary Shelley, before she completed it. If you do not like reading incomplete works, steer clear. However, if you are interested in Wollstonecraft or radical ideology, you might consider reading this work. Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Women is what she is best known for. She is held up as an example of proto-feminism. However, all that ...more
Maria è un romanzo filosofico, scritto per rendere alla portata di tutte le donne le idee di un altro testo della stessa autrice, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.
Il "filosofico" sovrasta il "romanzo". Ogni personaggio è un'allegoria, e i dialoghi servono solo a mettere a confronto diversi punti di vista. Ci sono pochissime descrizioni, e tutta la storia, che parte nella madhouse, finisce per fare solo da contorno ai racconti dei singoli personaggi. È un peccato, perché il passato dei person
Grace Harwood
Oct 15, 2013 Grace Harwood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is, as other reviewers have already argued, the very passionate outpourings of a woman who was immensely conscious of the wrongs which were everyday being perpetrated against her sex in the time in which she lived. The story relates the history of Maria who has been shut up in a private madhouse by her husband because he wishes to gain control of her fortune. Stealing her baby ("from her breast") after employing a woman to drug her, Maria wakes up in the gothic confines of the lunatic asylu ...more
Feb 28, 2013 Zulu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, it's been several months since I read this one, so my recollections probably won't be the most accurate.

This book was a fragment that was published posthumously. Wollestonecraft was still working on it and was well aware that parts of it needed to be rewritten and probably the structure of the whole (dramatic arc, character development, and so on) would need to be changed around. I think it's clear from the author's preface that she intended this to have a didactic purpose ("to teach and d
Rachel Brand
Read for EN4363: Romantic Writing and Women.

Although it looks like this book took me a fortnight to read, in reality I probably could have read it in half a day. I just wasn't terribly inspired to read yet another depressing novel about the state of women in late eighteenth century Britain. And on top of that, Mary Wollstonecraft isn't a great fiction-writer. Fantastic as her Vindication of the Rights of Woman is, her talent doesn't seem to transfer from non-fiction to storytelling. I think the
Gothic feminist tragedy might be my new favorite genre. I totally loved this book. The style of writing was just gorgeous. I loved the start being locked up in a mental institution but how the real horror was just the way women were treated. The book wasn't completed which is a shame as it seemed like things were going to get much worse for our heroine. Reading this after having read the Eve and the New Jerusalem book was really good. It was sad reading this knowing that change was so slow for w ...more
An excellent reading.

This was hard to get into, but once I got involved in the stories of injustice that the women told, it was very engaging.

With the benefit of hindsight it is incredible to think how unjust and unfair the situation for women was (and can sometimes still be). Wollstonecraft highlights the absurdities and cruelties so obviously it is hard to believe anyone could read this and not challenge the status quo.

My rating is 3.5 stars, which I rounded up to four. It would have been four
Apr 14, 2007 Debbie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One of the novels she left unfinished after her death. This one is very much in the vein of her other books and I honestly would not have read it if it weren't required for my history of political thought class. I suppose it can be an interesting look at how women were treated during the Enlightenment time period, from the POV of a woman, but it seemed to me to be a long social and political rant disguised as a novel. I do wish she had finished it however, as the manuscript ended just as there w ...more
Nina Kristin
I have read this novel two times, and I liked it better the second time around. Mary Wollstonecraft has a good writing style with a poetic touch. The story itself is strong and displays a lot of emotions. I like how she potrayed the society and the views and positions of women, as well as including elements of her own life. These elements together makes the story very powerful. The first time I read it I did have some trouble understanding the whole story, especially seeing as she presents stori ...more
Hannah Olson
Though the context of this work renders it unfinished, the part that Wollstonecraft has completed is intriguing and, in my opinion, fairly well done. Each character's backstory is extremely detailed, in a way that makes me believe she loved each of their accounts. Though some hold her writing in less esteem because of its fast turnover rate, I enjoyed reading this novel quite a bit. :)

Some of the prose, the phrases, describing setting and circumstance are exceptional. I wrote a more in-depth re
May 07, 2010 Reenie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: female-author
Much better than I expected it to be. Which is somewhat damning with faint praise, except that I really expected this to be all crude polemic, and it was better than that. It is unfinished (dying from fever after childbirth will do that to a novel), but the shape of the notes that finish out the book are satisfyingly cynical (it would have been cheap to give this novel, written to publicise or maybe popularise the plight of women, a happy ending). I was interested all the way through, and I hone ...more
Ellie Lloyd
Mar 23, 2015 Ellie Lloyd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: university
I actually really enjoyed this book. Despite its fragmentary structure I found it very interesting. The perspective into the lives and rights of women during this period was inciteful and intriguing. It was a good blend between novelistic writing and Wollstonecraft's own political stand point against the restraints that marriage places upon women.

Its not very long and is well worth a read for anyone interested in feminist politics or theory.

My only regret is that Wollstonecraft was unable to c
Apr 26, 2008 yoli rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
4/16 Oh god this sucks. It's a Gothic novel without the fun ridiculousness that The Monk had, just a prison. NOT looking forward to reading her other work A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

4/26 I've skimmed it and am going to consider myself done with this book until finals time--provided I decide I absolutely MUST use it and cannot just memorize all the other readings for the class. Godawful, honest. Vindication was at least a manifesto, problematic as well, but this is drippy sentimental tr
Oct 01, 2013 Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm really sad that Mary Wollstonecraft died before being able to finish the novel, because as much as I wasn't sure if I would like it, there is a really interesting and thought provoking story here. It shows women's oppression in a whole new light from the perspective of a woman named Maria, who ends up in a mad house even though she is quite sane. Both Maria and her caretaker Jemima have undergone lots of obstacles that no one should have to live with, but at the same time it seems to bring t ...more
Aug 14, 2007 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: feminists
Shelves: classics
Maybe A Vindication on the Rights of Women is too much to handle? Try reading this unfinished story of Maria, a women living under the rule of her barbaric husband in the 1700s. Wollstonecraft, an early feminist, forces us to look at the injustices forced upon women in her time which then makes us look at the present time injustices. Wollstonecraft did not to get finish this book, as she died in childbirth (maybe another injustice forced upon women?) during its writing.
Aug 31, 2010 Quinn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-booklist
Achieved little. Did not stimulate my sympathy for suppressed women as each and every woman in the story had a tale of how they had been cheated by man, while every man encountered in the text was fastidious, haughty, arrogant, abusive, alcoholic, getting other women pregnant, or were falling in love with the main heroine. I don't know about you, but after sixty some odd pages of annoying sappy tales of "suppressed" women, I'm ready to start punching kittens.
Apr 13, 2013 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By far one of the most captivating novels I have ever had the pleasure to read. The language is superb, the stories unfold like softened linen and the author's insights into cognitive behaviors are brilliant. The focus on gender and the oppression of women is explored in both the "show" and in the "tell" and woven together magnificently. I will definitely read this novel more than once.
It's not a well-written novel. It's 2 stars actually, but I added one because she is obviously a great thinker. She isn't, however, a great writer... she lacks that peculiar sensitivity to plot and characterisation that the great writers of the 19th C had (Charlotte Bronte, for instance). I think, though, I'd be better off just reading her essays as opposed to this novel...
Nov 23, 2014 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely excellent. A thoroughly entertaining narrative with a message that is still important today. A must read!

Maria is imprisoned in an asylum and where she tells her story alongside her nurse Jemima and her friend Darnford.
Mar 29, 2016 Brittney rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hard to understand at points. Not one of my favorites, but after discussing it in class it opens your eyes to say the least.
Dec 11, 2014 Isabella rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Did not finish it, it was alright and exposed the repression of a wife and women during the time the book was written.
Dec 04, 2013 Francesca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strong story of the hardships & truth of being a woman. Her story is a strong part of political theory.
Nov 11, 2010 Whitney rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wollstonecraft was a terrible novelist, but I think what she does here with the gothic novel is interesting.
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Mary Wollstonecraft was an eighteenth century British writer, philosopher, and feminist. Among the general public and specifically among feminists, Wollstonecraft's life has received much more attention than her writing because of her unconventional, and often tumultuous, personal relationships. After two ill-fated affairs, with Henry Fuseli and Gilbert Imlay, Wollstonecraft married the philosophe ...more
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“Every glance afforded colouring for the picture she was delineating on her heart.” 4 likes
“She was ashamed at feeling disappointed; and began to reflect, as an excuse to herself, on the little objects which attract attention when there is nothing to divert the mind; and how difficult it was for women to avoid growing romantic, who have no active duties or pursuits.” 4 likes
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