3 December 2007
WOLLSTONECRAFT, Mary (1759-1797). Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Moral and Political Subjects. Philadelphia: William Gibbons, 1792.
12o (165 x 105 mm). (Some browning and spotting.) Contemporary sheep, red morocco spine label (joints starting, some rubbing and wear, corners bumped). Provenance: early illegible signature on title-page; Ms. Stone, Ms. Southworth, Ms. Dickinson, Ms. Hearn (pencil signatures on rear pastedown).
FIRST AMERICAN EDITION, published the same year as the first edition in London and preceding the Boston edition also published in 1792, of Wollstonecraft's famous argument for equality of education for both sexes. She felt that women ought to be the equal partners of men and wrote "...that if woman be not prepared by education to become the companion of man, she will stop the progress of knowledge, for truth must be common to all" (dedication, p.v). Vindication was an immediate best seller and, although there was nothing particularly shocking in her writings, there was much critical reaction, with Horace Walpole describing Mary as a "hyena in petticoats," while the evangelical writer Hannah More found the very title so ridiculous that she publicly expressed her intention never to read it. RARE: according to American Book Prices Current, only one other copy of the first American edition has sold at auction in the past 30 years: Swann, 21 October 1982, lot 228. Evans 25053. See PMM 242.
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