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It was certain when Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin greeted the world on August 30 1797 her life was going to be out of step with the ordinary Her unorthodox parents and family structure ensured this from the beginning Her father William Godwin himself a philosopher-historian was cold and ever remote Originally he trained for the Calvinist ministry but only wore the cloth a few years A sharp man who ate to excess and borrowed money from anyone who would give him a loan he had little time for anything that did not constitute the cultivation of a formidable mind through writing That is until Mary Wollstonecraft entered his life With the possible exception of William Blake she was the most influential of the Enlightenment radicals Independent at age twenty-one she ran a school with her sisters and befriended Samuel Johnson While in France she took up with a captain and eventually had a daughter Fanny After being deserted she returned to England and attempted suic ide Once she had recovered she began to write for a living Although she wrote in a variety of genres it was a piece on womens liberation that won her lasting fame The first meeting between these two people took place at a social evening in Godwins home Their identical intellectual beliefs made their coupling inevitable An affair begun in the autumn of 1796 When Mary discovered she was pregnant the couple decided to marry that both illegitimate children would have a name In spite of the ceremony they continued to dwell separately and live independently They were still very much in love however Unfortunately about a week and a half after Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin was born her mother died from labor complications Although he wanted to be a good father Godwin soon realized that he could not handle two young girls and immediately set himself to the task of finding another wife A proposal to Maria Reveley who
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