The context of my research is provided by the philosophy of education and the problems of individual development in 18th– and 19th-century England. Female writings – both literary-utopian and educational-philosophical – seem to rely on the framework and theoretical background of well-known male works (written by the most influential “fathers” in the period, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Edmund Burke) in order to provide a critical and ironical reading, while they also raise questions of social solidarity and (e)quality inherent in individual Bildung. My research focuses on Mary Wollstonecraft’s works, primarily on her ideas of female (self-)education in reading and writing, while I intend to discuss the strategies prevalent in her proto-feminist rhetoric. The idea of self-education is also present in the versatility of genres one finds in Wollstonecraft’s oeuvre, as it includes conduct books, tales, parables, as well as novels, treatises, and reviews. I am also concerned about the “textual” friendship with her contemporary, Catharine Macaulay, and the shared philosophical impulses in their educational writings.
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