Religion in the Age of Enlightenment


Mary Wollstonecraft, Enlightenment, Feminisms


"This female philosopher indignantly rejects the idea of a sex in the soul, pronouncing the sensibility, timidity and tenderness of women, to be merely artificial refinements of character, introduced and fostered by men;' writes the appalled (and fictional) Hindu philosopher Shahcoolen in Benjamin Silliman's series The Letters of Shahcoolen (1802). Published not long after Mary Wollstonecraft's manifesto, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman ( 1796), Silliman's series dedicates four epistles to detailing the nature and influence of the "regenerating system of this female lunatic." Another detractor brands Wollstonecraft "an unsex'd female" in a poetic satire on the author's manifesto and her fellow female "combatants" in "the new field of the Rights of Woman."