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Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark

Mary Wollstonecraft


In June 1795, Mary Wollstonecraft embarked on a three-month trip around Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, on undisclosed business at the request of her lover Gilbert Imlay. During the course of this voyage she wrote twenty-five letters to him, which were compiled the following year at the behest of her publisher into this volume. As a travelogue, the letters of course contain descriptions of the natural beauty of the places she visited and the habits and interests of the people she met; but what is more apparent is Mary’s growing realization that this journey she has undertaken for Imlay ultimately won’t heal their relationship.

Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark was the last work of Mary Wollstonecraft’s published during her lifetime; she died two years later, shortly after the birth of her second child, Mary Shelley. It follows the themes of her earlier works: a belief in reason’s ability to elevate people, the injustice of society’s oppression of women, and a spreading idea that commercialism does more to deprave than to enlighten humankind.

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