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Letters on Sweden, Norway, and Denmark

Mary Wollstonecraft

Book Overview: 

Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark is a personal travel narrative by the eighteenth-century British feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft. The twenty-five letters cover a wide range of topics, from sociological reflections on Scandinavia and its peoples to philosophical questions regarding identity. Published by Wollstonecraft's career-long publisher, Joseph Johnson, it was the last work issued during her lifetime.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ld not explain my wants, and by their earnest manner of expressing that desire.  There is such a charm in tenderness!  It is so delightful to love our fellow-creatures, and meet the honest affections as they break forth.  Still, my good friend, I begin to think that I should not like to live continually in the country with people whose minds have such a narrow range.  My heart would frequently be interested; but my mind would languish for more companionable society.

The beauties of nature appear to me now even more alluring than in my youth, because my intercourse with the world has formed without vitiating my taste.  But, with respect to the inhabitants of the country, my fancy has probably, when disgusted with artificial manners, solaced itself by joining the advantages of cultivation with the interesting sincerity of innocence, forgetting the lassitude that ignorance will naturally produce.  I like to see animals sporting, and sym. . . Read More

Community Reviews

In this volume are two separate works: Mary Wollstonecraft's A Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark and William Godwin's Memoirs of the Author of ‘The Rights of Woman’. I would rank the first of these two works with five stars, as Mary Wollstonecraft not only has a lively style but also...more

A series of 25 letters sent by proto-feminist Mary Wollstonecraft to her ex-lover Gilbert Imlay, describing a visit to Scandinavia in 1797. (The last few letters are written from north-west Germany). Wollstonecraft made this journey to represent Imlay in a dispute he had with business contacts, p...more

An interesting record of a intrepid adventurer. I didn't enjoy this quite as much as I had hoped, but my expectations were high. There were a lot of brilliant insights into 18th century society and politics, and many of Wollstonecraft's reflections, particularly about women in society, still appl...more

The dearth of pre-1800 travel literature for this region and the authorship of these 25 short letters (22 on topic) make them significant. In 1795 Mary Wollstonecraft learned that, in her absence, her “husband” (as registered in France but not fully legal) was living with an actress. Shortly afte...more

I have a tricky relationship with Mary Wollstonecraft. Although I have great admiration for her work and ideas, I don't actually like reading her books. I've read fiction, non-fiction and now this collection of letters. This was my favourite so far, as I felt we got a small glimpse of her private...more

3.5 stars

This was interesting to me
A/ because of whom it was written by
B/ because I was reading it relating to a group theme.

It was interesting reading about life and travel more than 200 years ago. Wollstonecraft had an astute eye for detail. There are many digressions in the book, some of more...more

"It is so delightful to love our fellow-creatures, and meet the honest affections as they break forth. Still, my good friend, I begin to think that I should not like to live continually in the country with people whose minds have such a narrow range." (p.15)

"...I feel more than a mother's fondnes...more

In 1795, while French armies roamed over Europe, Mary Wollstonecraft set off for Scandinavia, baby daughter and nursemaid in tow, where English travellers were very rare and lone female travellers unheard of. These letters, edited from those she sent to Gilbert Imlay (the American father of her c...more

I read this one based on a friend's review of another edition. It is not my normal reading fare and I was quite pleased with what I found in these pages.

It was obvious from the start that Wollstonecraft was a very strong and determined woman, independent and intelligent to the max. The book is ba...more

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