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"Daughter of the Revolution: Mary Shelley in Our Times" by Charlotte Sussman

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In Charlotte Sussman’s essay, Sussman explains the view of feminism in history by looking at Shelley’s impact and rereading of the foremothers of feminist thought. Remarking on Shelley as one of the most literal readers of “foremothers”, she explains Shelley’s great dependence on her biological mother’s work.In the article, Sussman discusses why Shelley wasn’t recognized as a major impact on feminist thought until the 1970’s.One of those reasons is because of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One's Own (1929) which was published to praise many earlier feminist writers. However, there was absolutely no mention of Shelley in the text. This is due to the fact that Mary Shelley had children, and Woolf’s thesis more or less depended on women being free from maternity. In the 70’s, however, a new brand of feminism appeared emphasizing Shelley as one of the foremothers, because although she was a mother, she was also a fervent fighter for women’s rights. She compared Shelley’s role in history to others such as Aphra Behn, and discusses why Shelley’s work has lasted longer and has had more of an impact. She states that Shelley is “the daughter of the revolutionary ideals of the 1790’s, including radical hopes for a change in women’s social and political status” and since she understood the grandeur of maternity and the pressures of it, she had a much better handle on feminism that Behn or Woolf. Sussman discusses Shelley’s first half of her life and writing compared to her second and the different stages of her feminist push, both writing as more of a Romantic and in her last three novels as much more of a Victorian era.

Works Cited Edit

Sussman, Charlotte. "Daughter of the Revolution: Mary Shelley in Our Times." Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 4.1 (2004): 158-186. Web.

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