By Mary Hays
In November of 1795, after William Godwin asked a caricature of Mary Hays lifestyles, she arrived on the suggestion of Memoirs of Emma Courtney. Godwin up his request with a "hint" fictional exploration of the painful adventure she had gone through in her courting with William Frend can assist her to come back to phrases with it. It used to be to be an "instructive instead of self indulgent" paintings. The ensuing novel is likely one of the best and significant explorations of gender-related problems with the time. Emma is uncovered to a chain of situations—motherlessness, orphanhood, poverty, dependence, and more—which inspire her to mirror "on the inequalities of society, the resource of each distress and vice, and at the odd disadvanteges of my sex." the radical quick grew to become seen as "a scandalous disrobing in public" yet is has persevered as a lot at the foundation of its clarity as on its pointed social statement.
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Additional info for Memoirs of Emma Courtney
1798 Appeal to the Men of Great Britain in Behalf of Women published anonymously. 1799 The Victim of Prejudice published. Published in French as La Victime du Préjugé. Meets Robert Southey, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Long friendship with Henry Crabb Robinson begins. 1800 Signed obituary of Wollstonecraft published in Annual Necrology, 17971798. 1802 American edition of Memoirs of Emma Courtney published. 1803 Female Biography; or, Memoirs of Illustrious and Celebrated Women, of All Ages and Countries published.
The letters are mainly from Hays, Godwin claiming to have little time to reply in writing. Almost immediately after the start of the correspondence, Hays raised objections to his ideas which she developed in the novel she was then writing. These are the sentiments which inform the situation and action of Memoirs, and Emma uses similar phrases to Mr Francis. Most of the letters explore the effects when the expectation of individual affection is disrupted and then the consequent threat to female fulfilment that this inevitably involves.
Clearly, in retrospect, Hays recognised that she had imposed on Frend a particular role and one of her making. Emma Courtney explores the implications of such a relationship as Augustus refuses to acknowledge his part in her fantasy. The reason for Frend's rejection is unknown, although Hays's friend, Henry Crabb Robinson, suggested that, like Augustus, he had been constrained by financial considerations and that he had confessed that he lacked the means to support a wife. Certainly much of Memoirs focuses on marriages of convenience, and Emma laments that "it is not on the altars of love, but of gold, that men, now, come to pay their offerings" (vol 2, ch 12).