The Legacy of Mary Wollstonecraft

Ref: C2344301

Mary Wollstonecraft was the original 'difficult woman'. She was never at home in the unequal society of her time, where she was vilified as a 'hyena in petticoats', but in 1792 she published an extraordinarily influential book, 'A Vindication of the Rights of Woman'. An eyewitness chronicler of the French Revolution, a brave traveller and vivid travel writer, a respected member of London's radical circles, and the mother of the writer of 'Frankenstein', Wollstonecraft deserves to be better known, and her influence on later writers - from Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf to Caitlin Moran - discussed and acknowledged.

Course aim

This course introduces the life and most important works of Mary Wollstonecraft, who in the late eighteenth century championed women's equality, and how some of her ideas influenced later generations of women writers.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need your own personal email address so that you’re able to login to the WEA’s digital learning platform: WEA Canvas. You will need to be able to understand how to follow URL links to pages on the internet. If you want to understand more about Canvas please visit:
  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: and
  • This course is for a group of around 15 students studying in a live video-learning platform conference and an online digital learning environment platform from the comfort of your own home.
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Outline the main events of Mary Wollstonecraft's life and career.
  • State five arguments made by Wollstonecraft in 'A Vindication of the Rights of Woman', and give your opinion as to how far her aspirations for women have been fulfilled in 2021.
  • Name five women writers (novelists, poets, politicians, historians, and journalists) who appear to have been influenced by Wollstonecraft, and summarise a few of the points they have made.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas will be used to provide resources or to support lessons, enable assessment, provide learner feedback and for other activities for individuals away from the course. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit:
  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • Your tutor will provide written, text and audio feedback recorded in WEA Canvas, WEA’s digital learning platform.
  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • You will have access to course resources and links to wider learning through the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas:
  • Recommended biographies: 'The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft', Claire Tomalin 'Romantic Outlaws:' Charlotte Gordon. 'A Vindication of the Rights of Woman' is available online (Project Gutenberg) but a digested version will be available on Canvas before the course begins.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course information sheet

The Legacy of Mary Wollstonecraft


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2020
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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