Mary: A Fiction is the first and only complete novel written by the
eighteenth-century British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. It tells the
tragic story of a heroine's successive "romantic friendships" with a
woman and a man. Composed while Wollstonecraft was a governess in
Ireland, the novel was published in 1788 shortly after her summary
dismissal. Helping to redefine genius, Wollstonecraft describes Mary as
independent and capable of defining femininity and marriage for
herself. It is Mary's "strong, original opinions" and her resistance to
"conventional wisdom" that mark her as a genius. Making her heroine a
genius allowed Wollstonecraft to criticize marriage as well: geniuses
were "enchained" rather than enriched by marriage. Through this heroine
Wollstonecraft also critiques eighteenth-century sensibility and its
damaging effects on women. Mary rewrites the traditional romance plot
through its reimagination of gender relations and female sexuality.
Wollstonecraft later repudiated Mary, writing that it was laughable.
However, scholars have argued that, despite its faults, the novel's
representation of an energetic, unconventional, opinionated, rational,
female genius (the first of its kind in English literature) is an
important development in the history of the novel because it helped
shape an emerging feminist discourse.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
The first successful untethered flight by humans in a hot air balloon
was made by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent
d'Arlandes in Paris.
The crews of the Brazilian warships Minas Geraes, São Paulo, Bahia, and
Deodoro mutinied in what became known as the Revolt of the Whip .
Irish War of Independence: On Bloody Sunday in Dublin, the Irish
Republican Army killed more than a dozen British intelligence officers
known as the Cairo Gang, and the Auxiliaries of the Royal Irish
Constabulary opened fire on players and spectators at a Gaelic football
match in Croke Park.
The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, a suspension bridge connecting Staten
Island and Brooklyn in New York City at the Narrows, opened to traffic,
becoming the largest suspension bridge in the world at the time.
Explosives placed in two central pubs in Birmingham, England, killed 21
people and injured 182 others, and eventually led to the arrest and
imprisonment of six people who became known as the Birmingham Six.
"God Defend New Zealand" became New Zealand's second national anthem,
on equal standing with "God Save the Queen", which had been the
traditional one since 1840.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
1. To kill as a sacrifice.
2. To destroy, especially by fire
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Although I came to doubt all revelation, I can never accept the idea
that the Universe is a physical or chemical accident, a result of blind
evolution. Even though I learned to recognize the lies, the clichés and
the idolatries of the human mind, I still cling to some truths which I
think all of us might accept some day. There must be a way for man to
attain all possible pleasures, all the powers and knowledge that nature
can grant him, and still serve God — a God who speaks in deeds, not in
words, and whose vocabulary is the Cosmos.
--Isaac Bashevis Singer
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