Radical Affinities: Mary Wollstonecraft and Samuel Johnson

James G. Basker

in Tradition in Transition

Published in print March 1996 | ISBN: 9780198182887
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191673900 | DOI:
Radical Affinities: Mary Wollstonecraft and Samuel Johnson

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This chapter explores the unexpected but profoundly important presence of Samuel Johnson in the mind and writings of Mary Wollstonecraft. It has two aims: first, to map the intertextual connections between them and thus show the extent to which Johnson informs Wollstonecraft’s mind and work; and, second, to examine three areas in which their affinity seems most remarkable — Wollstonecraft’s deliberate affiliation with Johnson as critical authority; as commentator on the condition of women; and, in her own life, as kindred spirit and consoling presence during moments of personal crisis and depression.

Keywords: Samuel Johnson; Mary Wollstonecraft; affinity; depression

Chapter.  7059 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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