What We Are Reading Today: Wollstonecraft: Philosophy, Passion, and Politics by Sylvana Tomaselli
Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, first published in 1792, is a work of enduring relevance in women’s rights advocacy. However, as Sylvana Tomaselli shows, a full understanding of Wollstonecraft’s thought is possible only through a more comprehensive appreciation of Wollstonecraft herself, as a philosopher and moralist who deftly tackled major social and political issues and the arguments of such figures as Edmund Burke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Adam Smith. Reading Wollstonecraft through the lens of the politics and culture of her own time, this book restores her to her rightful place as a major 18th-century thinker, reminding us why her work still resonates today. The book’s format echoes one that Wollstonecraft favored in “Thoughts on the Education of Daughters”: Short essays paired with concise headings. Under titles such as “Painting,” “Music,” “Memory,” “Property and Appearance,” and “Rank and Luxury,” Tomaselli explores not only what Wollstonecraft enjoyed and valued.