Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark
In 1795 Mary Wollstonecraft, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, travelled for several months in the Scandinavian countries. Her account of this trip, published in 1796, has a dual interest and importance: as a picture of countries rarely visited in Regency times, and as an essential link in Mary's personal progress. Her scenic descriptions and political comments about Norway (then under the Danes), her encounters with an impoverished peasantry and with Danish townsfolk greedily obsessed by commerce, are no less vivid than are the outbursts of melancholy in these letters written to Gilbert Imlay the unfaithful lover, and father of her baby girl. The reading of this book attracted William Godwin to its author, who was soon to become his wife and the mother of Mary Shelley, creator of Frankenstein. It is a key work for the understanding of the Godwin-Shelley circle. On publication, the book proved an immediate success. Widely read in England and America and translated into German, Dutch and Portuguese, it could well have made her as a popular writer, had she not died in the following year. Travels in Italy, Switzerland and Germany were becoming fashionable since the d
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