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McMinnville, Oregon, United States
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About This Item

London: Printed for J. Johnson, 1792. FIRST EDITION. 217 x 137 mm. (8 1/2 x 5 3/8"). xix, [1], 452 pp.
In a very pleasing and convincing replica binding of calf-backed marbled boards, flat spine with plain, stippled, and scalloped gilt rules, red morocco label. A few marginal notes and corrections in pen and pencil. PMM 242; Lowndes IV, 2977; Shattock, "Oxford Guide to British Women Writers," pp. 469-71. ◆Four-inch portion of defective fore margin of one leaf expertly renewed (well away from the text), title and another leaf with very small and expert paper repairs at the top, two prefatory leaves with fore edge minimally frayed and trimmed at a slightly oblique angle (the leaves perhaps once taken out and put back in--though original with the book, not supplied), occasional marginal soiling, a handful of leaves lightly foxed or stained, other very minor imperfections, but generally clean and still fresh internally, and in an unworn retrospective binding. A very agreeable copy of a book almost always found in unappealing condition.

This is an excellent copy of a landmark in the history of women's rights, called by Shattock "a powerful plea for a change in society's perceptions of the function and potential of women." Wollstonecraft (1759-97) wrote it in just three months, and lamented, "had I allowed myself more time I could have written a better book." It met with some immediate popular success (by 1794 it had been translated into French and German as well as published in America), and it has remained ever since a work of the greatest importance in the field of women's rights. PMM says that Wollstonecraft wrote "that her main argument was 'built on this simple principle 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.' The main part of her book was written in an equally plain and direct style, and it was this, as well as the idea of writing a book on the subject at all, which caused the outcry which ensued. There was indeed nothing specially shocking in her matter. She did not attack the institution of marriage or the practice of religion. Instead, she argued for a rational basis to the relation between the sexes." As the "Feminist Companion to Literature in English notes, "its passion and inclusiveness fully merit its classic status." Our first printing is not particularly rare, but copies that appear are typically in unappealing condition, or worse..


The perfect books for the true book lover, Penguin's Great Ideas series features twelve more groundbreaking works by some of history's most prodigious thinkers. Each volume is beautifully packaged with a unique type-driven design that highlights the bookmaker's art. Offering great literature in great packages at great prices, this series is ideal for those readers who want to explore and savor the Great Ideas that have shaped our world. Mary Wollstonecraft's passionate declaration of female independence shattered the stereotype of docile, decorative womanhood, anticipated a new era of equality and established her as the founder of modern feminism.


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Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts US (US)
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Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts

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About the Seller

Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since 2006
McMinnville, Oregon
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About Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts

Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books an Manuscripts was established in 1978 on a ping pong table in a basement in Kalamazoo, Michigan. From the beginning, its founder was willing to sell a range of material, but over the years, the business has gravitated toward historical artifacts that are physically attractive in some way--illuminated material, fine bindings, books printed on vellum, fore-edge paintings, beautiful typography and paper, impressive illustration. Today, the company still sells a wide range of things, from (scruffy) ninth century leaves to biblical material from all periods to Wing and STC imprints to modern private press books to artists' bindings. While we are forgiving about condition when something is of considerable rarity, we always try to obtain the most attractive copies possible of whatever we offer for sale.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

Morocco is a style of leather book binding that is usually made with goatskin, as it is durable and easy to dye. (see also...
The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in...
Marbled boards
Foxing is the age related browning, or brown-yellowish spots, that can occur to book paper over time. When this aging process...
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf....
Fore Edge
The portion of a book that is opposite the spine. That part of a book which faces the wall when shelved in a traditional...
First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in...
Very generally, "leaves" refers to the pages of a book, as in the common phrase, "loose-leaf pages." A leaf is a single sheet...

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