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Chapter 38 - Translations

from Literature

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 January 2020

Nancy E. Johnson
Affiliation:
State University of New York, New Paltz
Paul Keen
Affiliation:
Carleton University, Ottawa
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Summary

Mary Wollstonecraft’s works drew on her extensive travels in Portugal, France, Ireland, Scandinavia, and Germany; she dedicated her most important book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, to the French political figure Maurice de Talleyrand; and she translated texts from three foreign languages. Nonetheless, scholars’ evaluations of her writings tend to remain restricted to the British context, seeing her work in terms of national history, literary achievement, and women’s rights. Moreover, the consensus that Wollstonecraft’s reputation was ruined after William Godwin revealed her out-of-wedlock liaisons in the Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1798) has prolonged focus on her biography as much as on her writing, which has in turn distracted from her cosmopolitan literary and intellectual legacy. An entirely different view emerges when one considers translations and reviews of her work. These reveal a Wollstonecraft who, contrary to her conflicted British reception in the early nineteenth century, commanded respect both before and after she died; her writings continued to be translated and her ideas embraced. This suggests that the revived mid-nineteenth-century interest in Wollstonecraft among British feminists and suffragists was due as much to the rebound of her ideas from the Continent and America as native rehabilitation. The transnational ricocheting of Wollstonecraft translations and ideas has, moreover, continued in the twenty-first century, as her work continues to inspire debate globally.1 Wollstonecraft should consequently be viewed not only nationally but also internationally.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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  • Translations
  • Edited by Nancy E. Johnson, State University of New York, New Paltz, Paul Keen, Carleton University, Ottawa
  • Book: Mary Wollstonecraft in Context
  • Online publication: 16 January 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108261067.038
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  • Translations
  • Edited by Nancy E. Johnson, State University of New York, New Paltz, Paul Keen, Carleton University, Ottawa
  • Book: Mary Wollstonecraft in Context
  • Online publication: 16 January 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108261067.038
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Translations
  • Edited by Nancy E. Johnson, State University of New York, New Paltz, Paul Keen, Carleton University, Ottawa
  • Book: Mary Wollstonecraft in Context
  • Online publication: 16 January 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108261067.038
Available formats
×