Another Cassandra’s cry: Mary Wollstonecraft’s “universal benevolence” and the ecofeminist praxis

Margarita Carretero González


Even before the publication of the Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark (1796) exposed the ecological strain in Mary Wollstonecraft’s feminism, earlier works already had presented her as an advocate for the transformation of the power structures through the exercise of universal benevolence towards all creatures. In vindicating the central position that mothers should take in their children’s education, Wollstonecraft expresses her hopes that women could actually change the power structures that govern the relationships between genders and species. It is my contention in this paper that Mary Wollstonecraft’s works can be termed – using Laurence Buell’s favorite metaphor – early palimpsests of ecofeminist thought.


Wollstonecraft, Mary; Private affections vs. universal benevolence; Discourse of sensibility; Capitalist economics; Ethics of care


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Copyright (c) 2013 Margarita Carretero González

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