Review of A Study of Mary Wollstonecraft and the Rights of Woman
A Study of Mary Wollstonecraft and the Rights of Woman. By EMMA RAUSCHENBUSCH-CLOUGH, PH.D. London : Longmans, Green & Co., 1898. Pp. iv + 234.
WE rather expect on taking up a book with this title by a woman to encounter some extreme views and statements, but we find nothing of the kind in this case. The volume is a very careful and sufficiently exhaustive study of a remarkable and lovable woman, a kindred spirit of Shelley, Byron, Tom Paine, Godwin, and the revolutionists of her day, but one whose impatience of social restraint was tempered with a most striking and consistent display of good sense-so far as her theories are concerned, at any rate : in her practices she was less fortunate.
She was at variance with her times, but at this day the most of us would not hesitate to say that in her points of difference with the world Mary Wollstonecraft was in the main right and the world wrong. For the gist of her quarrel with the world was that the activities of women did not have free play.
The volume treats of: (1) her life; (2) her literary work; (3) her religious and ethical views ; (4) the rights of man, and her reply to Edmund Burke; (5) the rights of woman, and her polemics against writers on female education; (6) her investigation of the causes of woman's intellectual inferiority ; (7) her discussion of woman's moral inferiority; (8) her demands for the education of woman; (9) her vindication of the civil rights of woman ; (10) the relation of her views to those of Godwin and later socialists; (11) the reception of her work in Germany. Her biographer points out in conclusion that many of the conceptions of Mary Wollstonecraft have been adopted by society, but wisely refrains from insisting that the changes are directly traceable to her influence and writings. It is perhaps unfortunate that the title should suggest that the volume treats of the question of woman's rights aside from the relation of Mary Wollstonecraft to this question, for the views of Mrs. Rauschenbusch-Clough are not very elaborately expressed and are so reasonable that they perhaps demand no expression in print.
W. I. THOMAS.