Utopianism and Double Standards in Feminist Foremother Mary Wollstonecraft


Editor’s note: Following on the heels of Wollstonecraft’s publication of A Vindication Of The Rights of Woman, 33 year old Thomas Taylor published his own reply titled ‘Vindication Of The Rights Of Brutes’ (1792). In the introduction to Taylor’s book we read the following summary:

A Vindication of the Rights of Brutes is an exercise in irony, a witty, merry book in which Taylor, using the weapon of laughter, professed agreement with the radical ideas recently published by two of his friends, Mary Wollstonecraft and Thomas Paine, and by carrying these arguments to their logical extremes, reduced them to absurdity. That it was their ideas which eventually triumphed does not lessen the reader’s enjoyment of his wit, or alter the usefulness of his parody of what he regarded as an oversimplification of the nature of man, an over-generalization of the worth of all men, and an egalitarianism he could not accept.

Thomas Taylor, Vindication Of The Rights Of Brutes, (1792)

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