Mary Wollstonecraft was born in 1759 in Spitalfields, London. After an unsettled childhood, she opened a school following which her first work, Thoughts on the Education of Daughters, was published in 1787. After a stint as a governess in Ireland, she continued to write and published several other works including Mary (1788), A Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790) and her most famous, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). That year she travelled to Paris where she met Gilbert Imlay, by whom she had a daughter, Fanny. Her travels around Scandinavia with her baby daughter in 1795, inspired her travel book Letters Written during a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. On returning to London Imlay's neglect drove her to two suicide attempts. In 1797 she married William Godwin, and had a daughter, the future Mary Shelley. Wollstonecraft died of septicaemia shortly after the birth.
Deidre Shauna Lynch is Chancellor Jackman Professor and Associate Professor of English at the University of Toronto. She is the author of The Economy of Character, which was awarded the MLA's Prize for a First Book, and editor of Janeites: Austen's Disciples and Devotees and, with William B. Warner, Cultural Institutions of the Novel. She is also an editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Humanities Center and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, of the State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, and of the Northeast Association of Graduate Schools' Graduate Faculty Teaching Award.