This article is about a novel by Mary Wollstonecraft. It has been peer-reviewed (see here and here). Awadewit will address any prose or content concerns and AnonEMouse will address any MOS issues (we should all thank her/him for her/his generosity). Awadewit | talk 00:05, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Support A fine article, and the painting in the infobox is very haunting. My thoughts are that you might delink "novel", "1788", "charity", and "the continent", and loose the infobox; but these are only my preferences. I wonder if "would be" in the second para is the right phrasing, and "the first of its kind" needs to be qualified; in English literature or in literature as appropriate. "Wollstonecraft later repudiated this work, writing that it was laughable" - Wollstonecraft later repudiated the novel, and wrote that she now thought it laughable. "Mary's mother, is obsessed" - drop the comma. "is strongly partial to Mary's brother" - partial is not the right word, its slightly dated. " who educates herself through books" - educated...with books? (not decided on that). "Wollstonecraft's subtitle—A Fiction—" is the em dash necessary. "but they also believe that the novel is important because it attempts to depict a liberated...." however, they attribute the novel's importance to it's depiction".
None of these points are substantive, suggestions only. Ceoil 13:10, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Delinked the 2 which were my fault. Please look again at the "Mary's mother" sentence, it's actually "Eliza, Mary's mother, is obsessed", we can't drop the second comma. --AnonEMouse(squeak) 13:16, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Oops, you're right. Ceoil 13:20, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
I think that linking "novel" is fine. If the article were about an epic poem, we would link to epic. If someone clicked on "novel" they would learn a lot about the history of the novel. Awadewit | talk 14:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
"1788" is linked to "1788 in literature". While the page is not very good right now, I hope that it improves someday. It could be very useful. Awadewit | talk 14:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
A matter of preference. I prefer to keep blue links to a minimum, and I rarely find links to single years to be useful. Ceoil 00:09, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
I have removed the infobox. Awadewit | talk 14:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
"would be" changed to "was". Awadewit | talk 14:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Doesn't saying that Wollstonecraft's heroine is the first of its kind imply that it is the first in literature? Awadewit | talk 14:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Its unclearly pharased to me, at least. Wollstonecraft's first heroine was a rational autodidact.Ceoil 00:09, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry, are you suggesting Wollstonecraft's first heroine was a rational autodidact as a possible phrasing, or are you saying that that is the information you take away from the sentence? If that is what you get from the sentence, I really need to change it, since that is not my meaning at all. I have now changed it to: Inspired by Jean-Jacques Rousseau's comment that geniuses are self-taught, Wollstonecraft embarked on a novel undertaking: representing a rational, self-taught heroine. - What do you think? Awadewit | talk 00:20, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
I have to admit that was how I read it. Its clear now. Ceoil 00:28, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
Wollstonecraft later repudiated the novel, and wrote that she now thought it laughable - It's a bit more wordy. Can you explain why you think the current version is a problem? Awadewit | talk 14:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
"partial" replaced with "prefers Mary's brother over Mary" (Just so you know, this is not an old meaning of the partial, just a less used one. See Webster's: "markedly fond of someone or something -- used with to <partial to pizza>") Awadewit | talk 14:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
"educates herself through books and the natural world" - would "using books and the natural world" sound better to you? Awadewit | talk 14:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
subtitle—A Fiction—: I believe the m-dashes are necessary. That whole section is about genre, so I really wanted to draw attention to that phrase. Awadewit | talk 14:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Most scholars agree with Wollstonecraft's assessment of her writing, however, they also believe that the novel is important because it attempts to depict a liberated and reasoning female genius. - new version with "however" Awadewit | talk 14:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
I did qualify my suggestions after registering a support. Its a fine article about a subject I had not met before. This period in eng lit is fascinating to me, nice work. Ceoil 15:08, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I am genuinely curious as to why you find certain phrasings difficult to follow, though. Those are honest questions - if the writing can be improved, I do want to do so. Also, I did want to explain my rationale for certain choices. Awadewit | talk 15:19, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
No, it wasn't from the point of view of "difficult to follow", my points were motivated by, as I see it, archaic language (usually people that are "partial" to each other end up "courting", which is what my grandmother did with my grandfather); and a few ce fixes here and there that were were needed, all now dealth with. I like the article; it's charming, and I really like the heading painting; nothing difficult to follow here. Ceoil 15:29, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Again, thanks. I'm glad you like the painting. People usually use the one you see at the top of Mary Wollstonecraft, but since I'm working on like my fifth Wollstonecraft article (I'm trying to assemble a Wollstonecraft featured topic) I was getting a little tired of seeing it. :) Awadewit | talk 15:37, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, you are doing something right, as I just visited amazon, and typed Wollstonecraft into the search engine. Ceoil 15:41, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
That makes me very happy. Awadewit | talk 16:07, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Support. High quality, invaluable, and impressive work. You are gradually educating me about Wollstonecraft and eighteenth-century women writers! Many thanks for all your excellent articles on Wikipedia, which have influenced me to raise my standards (gone are the days when I would dream of leaving out publisher locations, for example).
A few comments: please feel free to ignore.
My main observation would be that (and I am not always fast on the uptake, I admit) at some moments I found myself casting my eyes back up the article to get my bearings or check whether I had missed something. For example, the lesbian aspect came somewhat out of the blue, I felt, because till then I was sensing that the interpretation of the book would most likely centre on whether it was too sentimental. Rechecking the lead, sure enough, I found the clues that had gone over my head: "passionate friendships", "redefinition of gender relations and her reimagination of female sexuality". But then, I am talking as someone who read several Genet novels before it dawned on me about the women in them (doh), so perhaps I am not very savvy.
I have inserted some hints in the "Genre and gender" section. Are there any other ideas that spring upon you suddenly in the article? Awadewit | talk 23:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
There they meet Henry made me think "er, who?", and I went back to check that Mary's husband was called "Charles". Stupid of me, I know, but I thought I'd better tell you that I assumed he must have already been introduced. An appositive phrase at that point would help, perhaps.
It now reads "were introduced to Henry". Awadewit | talk 23:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Nothing prepared me for: "After Ann's death, Mary replaces her with Henry; as Johnson writes, "this tale of forbidden and unnarratable passionate friendship becomes a tale of forbidden but narratable adulterous love". Like Ann, Henry is a feminine counterpart to Mary's masculine persona. Mary's relationship with Henry is one of both lover and father".
I have added some phrases about masculinity and femininity in the "Genre and gender" section. Awadewit | talk 23:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
The article had never previously implied that Henry was in any way feminine, so now I had to suddenly juggle gender roles to get my bearings. The article also leaves it late, I think, to tell the reader that Mary was masculine in any way; but when it did, I failed to twig the lesbian implication, even then. The reference to Fanny Blood is not as helpful as it could be in that respect, I feel. Earlier, the reader was told that Mary's relationship with Ann might be a version of Wollstonecraft's with Blood, and that Wollstonecraft had felt betrayed by Blood; but since the nature of their relationship and the betrayalt was not described, this could not illuminate the relationship complexities in the novel which are entered into lower down.
I am hoping that the new phrases about gender in "Genre and gender" help alleviate this problem. I have also added details regarding the Fanny/Mary relationship in the "Biographical influences" section. Awadewit | talk 23:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
I mention these things just to give you an insight into the mental processes of an obviously not very acute reader, perhaps listening to the sports reports at the same time (an entirely theoretic reader, of course!).
I suggest that the lead could introduce more information about who Wollstonecraft was and at what stage she was in her life and career when she wrote this book. Only when we get to "Themes" are we given any help with that sort of context.
I have added a sentence on Wollstonecraft's biography to the lead. Awadewit | talk 23:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Most of the article is written beautifully, but there were a few spots where I felt the language became slightly too difficult for an encyclopedia article:
Although there is strictly nothing wrong with the second paragraph of the lead, I feel it probably has too many difficult terms and concepts in it, one or two of which could perhaps be clarified along the way. For example, you rely on a link for "autodidact", perhaps assuming the reader will connect it to the "self-taught" point made before. But I think any difficult language or term has to be explained in situ.
I can't think of another term for autodidact other than "self-taught" which I have already used in that sentence. I will keep thinking, though. Awadewit | talk 23:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
I didn't feel that the following ambitious sentence worked: She detests fashionable life rather than yearns after it; is affected by real social injustice rather than one to whom charity is a passing fad; is older and intellectual rather than young and pretty; asserts her right to sexual desire rather than sublimating it; resists marriage rather than seeks it out; and does not live "happily ever after".
I'm not against elaborate constructions—far from it; I'm a paid-up member of the semicolon club myself—but I don't believe a construction like that should risk switching between active and passive clauses; and "is affected by real social injustice rather than one to whom charity is a passing fad" is quite a chunk to stick on a syntactical kebab stick all at once.
It was definitely overly ambitious. It is now broken up and the sections are (hopefully) related to each other. Awadewit | talk 23:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
In the following, I was miscued into muddling up mother and daughter (once again, could just be me): She neglects her daughter, who educates herself through books and the natural world. Ignored by her family, Mary devotes much of her time to charity. When her brother suddenly dies and Mary becomes an heiress, her mother finally takes an interest in her; she is taught "accomplishments", such as dancing, that will attract suitors. The last sentence seems to start without cueing its subject properly.
Now reads "Mary is taught 'accomplishments'..." Awadewit | talk 23:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Hotwells: I had to click the link to find out if this was a house or a place.
Now reads "the town of Hotwells in Bristol". Awadewit | talk 23:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
To escape a family who does not share her values, Mary befriends a local girl, Ann, who furthers her education.
I wasn't sure from that at first whether Ann furthered her own education or Mary's. Mary's probably; but what happens next does not indicate how, and in fact it shows Mary taking the lead.
Now reads "Mary befriends and is educated by a local girl, Ann". (One can take the lead and still be ignorant, of course.) Awadewit | talk 23:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Gothic Novel: This depends too much on the link, in my opinion. In the context, it is not clear to me how the fact that it is Gothic affects what is being said. It is also not clear to me, from its definition, what is Gothic about "Gothic feminism": as a specialised term, it probably needs more explanation. Also, the point about being morally superior and being a victim is exceptionally complex for an encyclopedia. It intrigues me—but I am not sure I fully understand it.
I have explained gothic novel a bit more now as well as its connection to "Gothic feminism". I have added a sentence that (hopefully) clarifies the major idea of the paragraph. Awadewit | talk 23:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
One of the key differences between Wollstonecraft's two novels and her philosophical treatises, as feminist critic Cora Kaplan has argued, is that "women's feelings and desires, as well as the importance of expressing them, are valorized" in her fiction while in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, emotion "is seen as reactionary and regressive, almost counter-revolutionary".
Here I had to read twice to get what was being said. That might surprise you, but I think the reason is probably that Brits spell "valor" as "valour", added to the fact that we don't have "valouris[z]ed" (to my knowledge). This could be got round by paraphrasing the first part of Kaplan's quote to make the meaning more immediately clear (once again, please take for granted the proviso on all of this that it may just be me being slow). I would suggest that the whole of the "Love, friendship and sensibilty" paragraph is rather dense.
Now reads: "One of the key differences between Wollstonecraft's two novels and her philosophical treatises, as feminist critic Cora Kaplan has argued, is that her fiction celebrates female emotion and argues for its value while her treatises present emotion as "reactionary and regressive, almost counter-revolutionary"." Awadewit | talk 23:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree that the Johnson quote is dense, but it is worded so well, and since it is her theory, I wanted to use her words at some point. Also, some parts of the article are going to be dense, I think, and not all readers will grasp every concept (I think of myself reading introduction to general relativity, for example). Some will grasp more than others. Awadewit | talk 23:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
identify-defining: I assume this is a typo, but one never knows, so I left it alone.
free indirect discourse: I think this might be explained a little more clearly. For once, this is something I already know about. This passage might not leave the reader with a clear enough idea of what is involved in that narrative style.
Explained more fully and with fewer quotations. Awadewit | talk 23:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Anyway, very well done. And I'm so glad you haven't given up on FAC.qp10qp 21:23, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your kind words and helpful suggestions; I always know that I can rely on you for thoughtful comments. AnonEMouse deserves the credit for me submitting this article. His/her willingness to take on the stylistic issues is to be commended. Awadewit | talk 23:51, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
So far, there haven't really been any, and my main positive direct contribution has been the wikilink of autodidact. :-) --AnonEMouse(squeak) 00:34, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
Very pleased with the edits. All those little connectors make a difference, I think. The explanatory phrase for "free indirect discourse" is both perfect and perfectly unobtrusive.qp10qp 15:32, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
Comment - This may be dense of me but what does "Wollstonecraft was running with her sisters to marry" mean? Mattisse 18:23, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
The whole phrase goes like this: critics have speculated that since Wollstonecraft felt betrayed by Fanny when she quit teaching at the school Wollstonecraft was running with her sisters to marry - Wollstonecraft and her sisters were running the school, which Fanny quit to marry. Awadewit | talk 18:32, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
O.K. I get it now. Thanks. Mattisse 18:53, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
Might you think about supporting the article, now that I have tried to address your concerns about the headings? Awadewit | talk 17:11, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
Strong oppose—1a. When the subject is a writer, we need to be particularly careful that we don't degrade her memory through subprofessional writing.
"made the monumental step of becoming a professional writer"—No, "took". "Monumental" is too attitudinal an epithet, especially at the opening.
"Monumental" is precisely the right word - for a woman to choose to become a writer during the eighteenth century was extraordinary. The reader needs to understand that up front. Awadewit | talk 03:21, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
You are correct regarding "took". I have changed that. Awadewit | talk 03:21, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
"fired" as governess—it's too American and 20th century.
I have changed it to "summarily dismissed". Awadewit | talk 03:21, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
"She also rewrites the traditional"—"Also" is redundant. Sift through and weed out all of the redundant alsos.
Hmm. I looked at all of the "also's" again. None of them are redundant. They are usually used either as a transition word that ties together two thematically-linked sentences or they are used to mean "similarly" when it is appropriate that the reader should make the connection between two items that are alike. Awadewit | talk 03:21, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
You mean "none of them is redundant". Well, show me why the absence of "also" here and elsewhere affects the meaning.
Here are all of the "also's" in the article. Not all affect the meaning in the literal sense that I think you are referring to, but good writing also takes into account emphasis, which is what I have done here.
This heroine allows her to critique eighteenth-century sentimentalism and to reveal its damaging effects on women. Through its redefinition of gender relations and reimagination of female sexuality, Mary also rewrites the traditional romance plot. - "Also" allows readers to connect these two sentences together - they would not necessarily have a reason for doing otherwise.
Every sentence but the first is an also—that's the default: "I'm adding to what I've just told you". I'm not convinced of the need for that instance of "also", but will let it slide. Your example, however, brings up a more important issue: the referent for the first "its" is clear (18th-century sentimentalism), but is it the referent for the second "its"? If not, what is?
How about simplifying: "Mary rewrites the traditional romance plot by redefinition of gender relations and reimagination of female sexuality." ? (I'm a simplistic mouse :-) ... prose is Awadewit's field, or I'd just do it.) --AnonEMouse(squeak) 14:22, 12 August 2007 (UTC) Did that. --AnonEMouse(squeak) 17:46, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Ann becomes consumptive and Mary travels with her to Lisbon in hopes of nursing her back to health. There they are introduced to Henry, who is also trying to regain his health. - This connects the characters of Henry and Ann together, a point which I expand upon at great length in the "Themes" section. It helps to prepare the careful reader for that section.
But not the careless reader? Make it "in the hope of", not the casually incorrect plural without its deictic, "the". "Also" is fine here; I didn't say that all instances were unnecessary; I just asked you to check through them.
Whoever is altering my statements, I wish they would stop. See Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines#Editing comments. I quote: "It is not necessary to bring talk pages to publishing standards, so there is no need to correct typing errors, grammar, etc. It tends to irritate the users whose comments you are correcting. Do not strikeout the comments of other editors without their permission." Awadewit | talk 19:35, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
A few months before starting the work, Wollstonecraft wrote to her sister Everina: "I am now reading Rousseau's Emile, and love his paradoxes … however he rambles into that chimerical world in which I have too often wandered … He was a strange inconsistent unhappy clever creature—yet he possessed an uncommon portion of sensibility and penetration" (emphasis Wollstonecraft's). She also notes that in Emile, Rousseau "chuses [sic] a common capacity to educate—and gives as a reason, that a genius will educate itself" (emphasis Wollstonecraft's). - emphasizing connection.
Renowned Wollstonecraft scholar Claudia Johnson argues that Mary is "a bold and dangerous novel", because it presents a new kind of heroine, a "woman who has thinking powers" (in Wollstonecraft's words) who is also capable of having intimate relationships with both men and women. - it is extremely significant that this heroine can both be rational and have intimate relationships.
How about moving the "also" to after the "of" to stress the repeated "has", and thus to signify the double-quality. RedRabbit 19:30, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
"Such heroines", Wollstonecraft scholar Gary Kelly writes, "represent woman constructed for man: the heroic feminine victim of the courtly rake and gallant, the virtuous feminine companion of the ideal professionalized gentleman, and the intellectually and erotically subservient companion of the ideal bourgeois man." Using numerous allusions and references, Wollstonecraft also attacks two sentimental novels in particular, the popular History of Eliza Warwick (1778) and The Platonic Marriage (1787). - emphasizing connection.
Connection of what? As I said, the default is that each sentence flows logically from its antecedent.
As Diane Long Hoeveler has demonstrated, Mary is not only a sentimental novel, but, with its emphasis on death, hyperbolic emotion and persecution, also a gothic novel - a required "not only...but also" construction.
"Also" is redundant here.
Unfortunately, I agree with Awadewit here. Yes, it is mostly unnecessary in terms of meaning, but to my ear the sentence just sounds wrong without it. It's almost an idiom. --AnonEMouse(squeak) 18:02, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm afraid two animals agree on this. "Mary is not only a sentimental novel, but... a gothic novel" is much weaker. Satisfying one's ear is more important than expunging redundancies.RedRabbit 18:44, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
It is Mary's "strong, original opinions" and her resistance to "conventional wisdom" that mark her as a genius. Making her heroine a genius also allowed Wollstonecraft to criticize marriage: geniuses were "enchained" rather than aided by marriage. - MW was able to do more than one thing.
"Also" creates confusion: Something allowed W to do something, and making her a heroine ALSO allowed W to do something else. This is not the meaning. Get rid of it.
Actually, that was supposed to be the meaning of the sentence - making her a genius allowed Wollstonecraft to present a "masculine heroine" as well as one that challenged conventional marriage. How best to phrase this? Awadewit | talk 18:01, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
How about adding "as well" after "marriage", unless you want to split an infinitive ("to also criticise")? I'm happy with either. RedRabbit 18:55, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
I have added an "as well" to the sentence. Awadewit | talk 02:47, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Most scholars agree with Wollstonecraft's assessment of her writing, however, they also believe that the novel is important because it attempts to depict a liberated and reasoning female genius. - they believe in addition; emphasis and accuracy.
The statement works perfectly well without "also"; "however" is the critical connector, and thus "also" is redundant.
You missed the also in the section heading See also, clearly unnecessary ... just kidding. :-) --AnonEMouse(squeak) 17:56, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
"Yet" is unusual at the start of a sentence. Use another word.
It is not "unusual" to use "yet" at the beginning of a sentence. I know that some writing textbooks recommend that students never use words like "yet" and "but" at the beginning of a sentence, but that is because they are trying to avoid poor usage of the word. That "rule" is actually quite silly and broken by good writers all of the time. As far as I can tell, all of my "yet's" emphasize a juxtaposition between two sentences or two ideas, as I intended them to do. Awadewit | talk 03:21, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
I can only advise you on how to adjust the tone to suit the register best. Blow textbooks.
Actually, Awadewit is correct on this point. It is neither unusual nor undesirable to have "yet" at the beginning of a sentence. Sorry to interrupt. RedRabbit 10:51, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Do we really need "governess" to be linked twice? And why is her surname linked in the body of the text repeatedly. These dilute the high-value links. Audit the whole text for this.
I repeat links from the lead, like governess, so that if readers change their minds about clicking, they don't have to return to the lead. Awadewit | talk 03:21, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
No, readers have (1) an opportunity to hit the link first off, and (2) can type the word into the search box at ANY TIME THEY CHOOSE. Please don't litter the article with blue in the fear that your readers might prevaricate about hitting a link. Otherwise, can I suggest that you link every single word, every single time. Must give them a continous chance ... who cares how obtrusive it is.
Also, I was under the impression that editors were supposed to repeat links in new sections. I have simply followed convention on that front in all of the FAs I have submitted. As WP:MOS-L states: "Good places for link duplication are often the first time the term occurs in each article subsection." Awadewit | talk 03:21, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
No, MOS-central—read the first sentence. The era of spattering trivial and repeated links throughout WP text is over. Those who realise how much they degrade the look and readability of the text have been exerting significant pressure over the past year or two, with good reason.
Here is more: Internal links add to the cohesion and utility of Wikipedia by allowing readers to deepen their understanding of a topic by conveniently accessing other articles. These links should be included where it is most likely that readers might want to use them; for example, in article leads, the beginnings of new sections, table cells, and image captions. Generally, where it is likely that a reader may wish to read about another topic, the reader should not have to hunt for a link elsewhere in the page. - That is what I have tried to follow. I hardly think that this article is littered with links (there are about 60 links in the prose part of the article - that amounts to 0.01% of the words (60/3100 - hardly the 10% the MOS lists as "over-linked"). As has been noted by many a copy editor who has worked on articles I have written, I am a conservative linker. I have tried to adapt to Wikipedia's system, but I have not been totally successful. Where do you think that the text becomes unreadable due to overlinking? Awadewit | talk 07:34, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Not sure what "MOS-central" refers to. The first text of Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#Wikilinks is "Main articles: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (links)" which is clear. The first sentence is "Make only links relevant to the context." In each linking of governess, it is an important word in the context (one of the rare acceptable professions for women at the time; and a frequent role in the sentimental romance novels Wollstonecraft critiques here). If you believe that MOS-L contradicts MOS-central, whatever that is, let me draw your attention to "...when either of two styles is acceptable, it is inappropriate for an editor to change an article from one style to another..." from the lead of Wikipedia:Manual of Style. --AnonEMouse(squeak) 14:22, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
I have removed about three links that could be considered extraneous. Awadewit | talk 03:21, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
These are just samples. Tony 02:14, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
I would argue that all articles, whether they are on writers or not, should be written well (I would not argue that they can all be written professionally - we are not all professional writers). I would (also) argue that most of the "samples" you provided of my "subprofessional" writing are more matters of personal taste than poor writing. Nevertheless, I will copy edit the article twice more - once today and once tomorrow.Awadewit | talk 03:21, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
No, don't do it yourself (as I wouldn't, if I were the main writer). Locate collaborators from the edit history pages of similar FAs. This will be a valuable investment in future teamwork, and will enable fresh eyes to pick up what a familiar editor cannot. If you can't produce professional writing, either yourself or in collaboration, don't nominate articles for FA promotion. The internet is competitive. As for your accusation that I'm pushing personal preferences, that's one of the three low-down, desperate ways in which nominators try to deflect criticism of their prose. It won't do. I'm taking a particular interest now in this nomination. Tony 06:32, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
I have already solicited help from another editor - I am not an idiot. Also, what similar FAs would you suggest? Looking at the recent FAs in literature, I noticed that I myself am the main contributor. Awadewit | talk 07:34, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
I can produce "professional" writing, even scholarly writing. I'm sorry that my efforts here are not up to your exacting standards. I do not spend as much time poring over wikipedia articles as I do my dissertation. However, that does not mean that my writing is poor, unreadable or sloppy. I would never want to be associated with anything that is written poorly. Awadewit | talk 07:34, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
I am not trying to "deflect" criticism of my prose (note, that I considered each of your objections carefully, responding in detail and changing where I thought appropriate). I am simply pointing out what is obvious - that you are letting your own personal preferences regarding writing sway your judgments of other people's prose. Simply because you would have worded something differently doesn't make the wording I chose wrong. Although there are better and worse ways of wording things, some of the changes you are suggesting have nothing to do with quality and everything to do with personal stylistic differences. Awadewit | talk 07:34, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm taking a particular interest now in this nomination. - Is that supposed to be a threat or something? I would have thought that commenting on the article in the first place meant you were taking an interest. However, if you want to attempt to force this nomination to fail over petty stylistic differences, be my guest, but I will simply no longer respond to these ridiculous accusations. I know that my writing can be improved and I have never claimed that it is "brilliant", but I do think that the articles I write are well-written (certainly, better than most on wikipedia). I know others agree. Awadewit | talk 07:34, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
By the way, do you have any constructive comments regarding the content of the page? You haven't mentioned any concerns regarding the ideas in the article, either here or in any of the FACs that I have been in with you. Awadewit | talk 07:34, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
The content? Haven't got that far. May not. Instead of blustering on here defensively, why not spend the time improving the writing. I don't mean to be personally critical; my own text is subject to a good deal of criticism too, you know. Tony 08:14, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, I usually don't bother to copy edit an article very thoroughly unless I am sure that it is well-researched, comprehensive and well-organized. I don't see the point in poring over the "also's" if whole sections will have to be reorganized, deleted or expanded. Moreover, I'm genuinely confused now - you advised me not to copy edit the article, after I said I was going to give it two more thorough goings-over. Now, you are telling me to spend my time doing just that? Awadewit | talk 17:36, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, Awadewit's writing is "better than most" on wikipedia, and she is perfectly capable of FA standard. (I am one of the "others"). I'll disappear down my rabbit hole now. RedRabbit 10:51, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Tony, thank you for taking a particular interest in this nomination. No doubt with your constructive criticism we can make this article the best that it can be. It's been reviewed rather thoroughly by other editors in Wikipedia:Peer review/Mary: A Fiction/archive1 (q.v.), and of course in this FAC, which is already longer than most, but every extra pair of eyes is always welcome. --AnonEMouse(squeak) 14:22, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
AnonEMouse has very kindly offered to take over the discussion of these issues. Awadewit | talk 17:36, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
I have copy edited the article two more times. Awadewit | talk 02:47, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Done Between the lot of us, I think we have addressed all of Tony's specific objections, and Awadewit's several copyedits may well have addressed others, we can't know. I don't normally use these icons, but there's been so much text here that I think we need to specify we think we're done somehow. --AnonEMouse(squeak) 13:31, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Comment - My problem with the article is that it seems to be pushing a point of view rather than being a neutral assessment, beginning with the word "monumental". Taking a larger, world view that word does not seem warranted. Perhaps I am wrong. Mattisse 16:24, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
Might you point out the sections where you see a POV arising? Thanks. Awadewit | talk 18:57, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
In the case of "monumental", I feel that the word is justified since Wollstonecraft's biographers spend several pages discussing her decision to become a writer, since it was such an unusual choice at the time. Janet Todd, for example, in Mary Wollstonecraft: A Revolutionary Life describes her choice as "extraordinary". Awadewit | talk 18:57, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
I guess "monumental" might seem to be fannish, or endorsing Wollstonecraft's decision. How about "unusual"? "rare"? Maybe stick in a few "highly"s or "very"s?:-) --AnonEMouse(squeak) 19:02, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
"Usual" and "rare" doesn't get across the historical significance of her decision. Because Wollstonecraft became a writer, other women were inspired to become writers, helping spark the feminist movement, which enabled women to get the vote, which .... :) Is there another word that would suggest both the rarity and the significance of her choice? Awadewit | talk 19:07, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps in her narrow world it was significant, but in the FAC, Song Dynasty, women were running their own businesses, instructing their sons in the art of war and becoming noted poets one thousand years earlier. It is a question of perspective. Mattisse 19:40, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
New version: Composed while Wollstonecraft was working as a governess in Ireland, the novel was published in 1788 only after her summary dismissal from that position and her monumental decision to embark on a writing career, a precarious and disreputable profession for women during the eighteenth century.Awadewit | talk 22:13, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
What about "momentous"? This more modest word can still indicate the personal significance of the decision to Wollstonecraft, quite a step for a woman in Britain at that time. For me, the word is also a little more idiomatic. Just a suggestion.qp10qp 14:02, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
Changed to "momentous". Awadewit | talk 01:42, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
Comment - I do not think that the sentence hold for all women worldwide in the 18th century. Pushing that point of view is what I object to in the whole article. Another example is using the phase "tragic story" in the first sentence. In what sense are you using the word "tragic"? Mattisse 01:01, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
Outrigger has added "in Britain" on to the end of the sentence, which is fine with me. Awadewit | talk 02:15, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
"Tragic" in the sense that both Ann and Henry die and it is implied at the end of the novel that Mary will die as well. As AnonEMouse noted in her peer review, the story is littered with bodies. Mary's mother, father and brother also die. Awadewit | talk 02:15, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
Correction: Mattisse added "in Britain". I removed "of her class" and changed "during...Britain" to "in...Britain". –Outriggr§ 04:16, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
Support An excellent article about a fascinating novel and heroine! :) Here are some general suggestions from a lay-person for your consideration
I missed having a richer description of the eponymous heroine in the lead, and perhaps her contrast with the other characters of the novel. The topic sentence of the 2nd paragraph of the lead might be a good place for that, as in "The heroine of the novel, Mary, is energetic, unconventional, opinionated, rational and self-taught, although she is surrounded by and even loves characters who lack such qualities. Such a female genius had never been seen in English literature and, through her, Wollstonecraft was able to critique the sentimentalism popular in the 18th century, particularly its damaging effects on women."
I have added part of your suggestion to the 3rd paragraph. Let me know what you think. Awadewit | talk 13:39, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
The article would benefit from having an introductory section for lay-people, clarifying the historical context of the novel, describing the kinds of novels/heroines that came before and after. For example, people might not know or appreciate that this novel was written before, say, Mansfield Park andSense and Sensibility, or be familiar with the tradition(s) of novels leading up to it. Some information on Wollstonecraft's reading audience might be good, too.
That is an excellent idea. I will add a paragraph to "Biographical and literary influences" on the sentimental novel. That will take me a few days. Awadewit | talk 13:39, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
Added and rearranged other material to avoid repetition. Awadewit | talk 05:11, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
That reads nicely! :) That raises another suggestion, though. The word "genius" is very important for the novel and for this article, but I'm afraid that it will be misunderstood. In particular, I'm worried that modern people will take "genius" to mean "supernaturally smart" and ask why Mary isn't working on calculus or astronomy or some other form of rocket science. ;) It might be good to clarify Wollstonecraft's 18th century sense of "genius", perhaps connecting it with its etymological roots in "free spirit"? Although that has inappropriate modern baggage as well. :( Hmmm.... Willow 12:14, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
I thought that I outlined MW's conception of "genius" in the "Genius and autobiographical self" section. Do I need to be more explicit there? Also, I am working on adding material to the genius (literature) page that I link to. At some point, I do get to rely on links, I think. :) Awadewit | talk 14:55, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
Of course you do! :) It's just that you should consider placing the definition earlier and expanding it slightly, since the concept seems so pivotal to your message. If I'm understanding you correctly, perhaps the most important "take-home" message for the reader is, "This novel is notable because Wollstonecraft created a new type of character in English literature, a female — but not stereotypically feminine — genius." If that's a fair assessment of the idea's importance, then you should indulge yourself with another paragraph to describe the concept of genius in that era; perhaps there's a nice quote from Wollstonecraft herself, or an epigram from a Romantic poet, that you could illustrate it with? It also might be good to explicitly ward off the usual interpretation of genius, e.g., "This sense of 'genius' differs from our modern usage, according to which genius usually means 'preternaturally smart'." Perhaps you could place it at the end of the Plot Summary of just after, with an explanatory sentence in the lead? Willow 11:40, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
I have added some more on "genius" to the lead and to the "Genius and autobiographical self" section. Awadewit | talk 01:48, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree with this comment about genius. Perhaps the problem with the article is that in the article words are used in a way that may apply to sentimental literature in the 18th century but have quite different meaning today. I am wondering why the article links "sentimentalism" to "sensibility" in the intro (twice) rather than "Sentimental novel" or "Sentimentalism (literature)" which (although poorly written) does bring out the central characteristic of sentimentalism, that is, an overindulgence in emotion. My training defined sentimentalism as the predominance of sentiment over reason with the goal of evoking emotions in the reader. To me, linking "sentimentalism" to "sensibility" is misleading. This distinction is at the root of my comment below regarding the word "tragic" and what I perceive as an absence of neutrality in the article. It seems to me that the Wollstonecraft has succeeded in evoking emotion in the editor of this article, thus leading (I'm guessing) to misleading wording. Mattisse 14:02, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
I linked once to sensibility and the other time to sentimentalism (literature); I have now made those different links explicit. The definitions of "sensibility" and "sentimentalism" are highly contested, even in eighteenth-century criticism. This is because people during the eighteenth century didn't agree on the definition. I had used "sentimentalism" because its modern definition of excessive emotion is closer to sensibility (a word whose meaning has totally changed), and I think that substitution is where you are getting hung up. I was actually being less precise in terms of literary history in an effort to be more accessible. "Sentimentalism" in the eighteenth century, according to one scholar who has written an "introduction" to the topic, is connected with a philosophical justification for sympathy (think of Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments) while "sensibility" is more attached to the novels and poems of the last quarter of the eighteenth century which value personal experience and feeling as much as reason (not necessarily over reason). Sensibility was attacked during the 1790s, partially because women were using it to justify their participation in politics (they claimed that they had keener feelings and could thus be moral arbiters), and it became associated with excessive feeling at that time. However, another theory claims that "sensibility" as an aesthetic and an ideology did not drop away during the 1790s but morphed into Romanticism....Anyhow, as you can see, once you start to explain "sensibility" and "sentimentalism", it goes on for quite a while. I could add several paragraphs on sensibility to the article (like I did to A Vindication of the Rights of Woman), but I wonder if it is too far afield for the article. If you think these concepts need to be explained further, let me know. To some extent, this is another question of how much I can rely on links. "Sensibility" is loosely defined in the article as "feeling" right now, but its precise definitions are left out so that the focus is not too broad. (Sensibility is on my list of pages to rewrite. It is appallingly bad. I have read the necessary books, but I haven't had time to sit down and write it yet. Perhaps I will move it up on the queue.) Awadewit | talk 14:55, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
(unindent) Yes, that may be the core of the problem if I am understanding what you are saying above. My thinking is that a word should be used in a way that consistent with today's understanding of the word rather than using it's 17th century or 18th century meanings. The way words are used in the article now is confusing. How is the lay person to know? If the article has no perspective outside the 18th century, no wide and comprehensive point of view, then it is looking at the subject narrowly and is not neutral it seems to me. --Mattisse 15:54, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
I used "sentimental" because its modern meaning approximates eighteenth-century definitions of "sensibility", but there is no real modern equivalent. Let me know if you would prefer the more historically accurate but potentially confusing "sensibility" or the less historically accurate but, I think, clearer term for the lay reader. Awadewit | talk 03:51, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
I must say, I didn't find Awadewit's usage of the words "sentimental", "sensibility" or "tragic" confusing. Admittedly, I've read a bit of English literature, but it seems likely that the readers of this article will understand her meaning at least as well as I did. I must also say, I didn't find the article POV at all, since its author's opinion is nowhere evident; and judging from the paucity of historical materials, the article seems comprehensive. What other sources mentioning this novel do you think would be useful to illuminate it, Mattisse? Willow 11:40, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
Now and then I had a little difficulty following the thread of the argument. It would be nice to have a few more direct quotes from the novel to illustrate the article's points more clearly; I really liked the quote on mourning Ann's death, which I thought did wonders for conveying the spirit and style of the novel. Also maybe explain the bits about Wollstonecraft's "advertisement"; is that the same as an Author's Preface? Willow 16:24, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
I have added a little phrase regarding the advertisement. Awadewit | talk 00:04, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
Could you tell me the places where you had difficulty following the argument? Awadewit | talk 00:04, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
Where would you like to have had a MW quote to illuminate the arguments? What I have tried to do is give the most difficult arguments the most quotes. Awadewit | talk 00:04, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
I sensed that I was out of my depth because I didn't always see the connections between the various sections and subsections. It might be better to re-organize the article to give a stronger sense of flow for the lay-person, and to put the simpler, more straightforward material earlier in the article and the more challenging, thought-provoking material later. For example, you might consider putting the "Reception and legacy" section ahead of the discussion of the themes sections.
I think that it is important for readers to know what the book is about before they read about its reception. It is particularly instructive, for example, that the relationship between Ann and Mary did not cause a critical stir (as it might today). Awadewit | talk 13:39, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
I guess my impression is that the latter half of the article is centered on the scholarly interpretations of the novel, rather than on the novel itself. I found the thematic sections more difficult to plumb or assess, being a little distant from my everyday experience, so it might be nice to begin that section with a paragraph that outlines the whole section for the reader, so that they feel as though they are being led by the hand through it, i.e., that gives that section more "flow". I also feel that lay-readers will be more curious about the novel and its impact on its author and its era, so I would suggest putting those topics before the scholarly insights into its thematic; perhaps you could work in the prerequisites for understanding the Reception into the Plot Summary and Influences sections? It's just a suggestion, Willow 16:24, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm not entirely sure what you mean when you separate "the scholarly interpretations of the novel" from "the novel itself". The novel means (in wikipedia terms, anyway) whatever the experts say it means. I think what you mean is that there is less discussion about the form of the novel (stylistic quirks of the language, symbolism, etc.) and more about the political issues raised by the novel. There is an easy explanation for that, but it requires a bit of history. Mary only began to be studied in the 1970s, with the rise of feminist literary criticism, because prior to that time the novel was considered an inconsequential work (as were all of Wollstonecraft's works along with the works of most other women writers). The kind of criticism you are looking for, I think, is "New Criticism" and involves lots of what is called "close reading" of small portions of the text (it is ideal for poetry, in a way). New Criticism had its heday from the 1930s to the 1960s and while many of its tools are still employed, they have been overlayed by new historicism, feminist criticism and Marxist criticism (among many other things). No one wrote on Mary during that "New Critical" moment and the scholars that have become interested in the novel since the rise of all of these other perspectives have largely been feminists, queer theorists and Marxists. The article does address some of the classical questions of form, such as genre, but I can do no more than what the scholars themselves do. Awadewit | talk 00:04, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
You give me too much credit for knowing several schools of criticisms; something else for my reading list! ;) I think that you've answered my question, but just to clarify, I was suggesting that reading the article might be made easier and more fun for lay-people if it could be arranged so that simpler and more direct observations came earlier, and that you guided the reader through the article more strongly, preparing them for what was to follow. The second suggestion was to add more direct quotes and more historical detail to bring the novel, its heroine, its author and her society to life, to abet the reader's imagination of them and that era. Such details might include who published the novel and why, how expensive it was and how much profit it turned, the nature of the binding, how often the novel was printed, where/how it was advertised and purchased, contemporary reviews, mentions in personal letters from people of that era or a little after (especially from fellow writers), sermons and pamphlets lambasting the novel as the archetype of evil modern ways, similar/antithetical novels before and after, characters or plot devices inspired in other novels, etc. However, I gather from what you say that such details might be impossible to add, from a lack of historical records or research on them. Willow 11:52, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
Our friend Joseph Johnson published the novel. As you are aware, his earlier business records have not survived, so that information is unavailable. As far as I know, the questions you are asking have no answers. The book was simply not important enough at the time to garner much publicity - MW was unknown at the time and the novel did not make a big splash. Awadewit | talk 14:55, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
I will add more into the summary of the "Themes" section. Again, this will take me a few days. Awadewit | talk 00:04, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
There's no rush and, besides, it's only a suggestion. :) Willow 11:52, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
I have added a reference to JJ in the "Reception" section and an expanded introduction to the "Themes" section. Awadewit | talk 01:48, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
In terms of "Reception", what you see is what you get. This is not an area that scholars have focused on, believing, I think, that it is less important than the political messages of the novel. I'm not sure that putting such thin material in the middle of the article is a good idea. It is difficult to demonstrate the direct impacts of this novel on MW or her society; in the case of other books, however, it could be argued that the reception is more important than the content itself (The Age of Reason springs to mind immediately.) Awadewit | talk 00:04, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
In a few places, I would be use more cautious, more verifiable words. I cringe to hear myself say that, since I love vivid, assertive writing; but we also want to write only about what has been shown or averred in print. A word... ;) Willow 11:36, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
I would appreciate examples of where you feel this is a problem. I have tried very hard to adhere to both the spirit and the letter of the published scholarship. Awadewit | talk 13:39, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
Looking back over it, I'm not sure what I was refering to exactly, sorry. :( My memory is that there were perhaps 3-4 unsupported statements about Wollstonecraft's internal sentiments (conveying the idea "she felt X as she did Y") or slightly overstrong assertions, however true. An example of the latter might be "reveals its damaging effects on women"; the word "reveals" is rather strong, suggesting that sentimentalism is categorically and objectively damaging to women and that MW was the first person to diagnose this damage. Perhaps that's what you meant and arguably it's true if "sentimentalism" is understood correctly, but others might object on both accounts. For example, Plato proposes that women leaders be educated just as men leaders in the The Republic, and eschews impractical, dreamy stuff for both. Therefore, it might be safer to say, "criticizes its damaging effects on women". Again, just a suggestion, Willow 16:24, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
I have replaced "reveals" with "criticizes". Awadewit | talk 00:04, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
I looked over the article again, but I didn't see any problems with agency. Do you have any more specific examples in mind? Awadewit | talk 00:04, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm a little mystified how I got that impression, too. It was before my coffee yesterday, so perhaps my brain had a little short-circuit? I'll look some more, but for now, let's consider this a non-issue. Willow 11:52, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
Comment - If this article is formal literary criticism, then my view is that the word "tragic" should be used in it's formal sense as would required in a class in English Literature at a university. If it is a feminism piece, or some other form than literary criticism, then I guess the word can be loosely as you use it. However, I still think it is an overstatement, expecially considering the times when women often did not live through child birth. To characterized the novel as "littered with bodies" (as you say someone else did) also seems like an overstatement, if that is your justification for the use of "tragic". Consider the times and also other eighteenth-century novels where characters regularly die. Using "tragic" in the first sentence in the lead does not seem neutral to me. Mattisse 12:34, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
The scholarship on Mary supports this language. EX: Todd 114-115, Kelly, 44. Awadewit | talk 13:39, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
Coment - Tragic as in Shakespeare's tragedies? Perhaps some historical context would help. From The Oxford History of Britain (ISBN 0-19-285202) p. 536
The standard of living of some members of the labouring population began to increase quite fast. Between 1860 and 1914 real wages doubled. The years of particularly rapid growth were the boom years of 1868–74, and the period 1880–96; during the latter period real wages went up by almost 45 percent. By the 1880s, for the first time in the century, a significant number began to enjoy leisure time. Some money (though not much) was coming to be available for more than the essentials of food, housing, and clothing.
Is the above totally irrelevant to Wollstonecraft's (and Mary's) situation and therefore the extreme language in the article is justified? It seems to me the subject of this article is being regarded through a very narrow prism that disregards the historical context. The focus is on women of a particular class in Britain at that time with no recognition that the subject was of a privileged class. I would guess that most women did not have the option of making the "momentous" or "monumental" decision to write novels but rather their momentous decision might be to become a prostitute. Novels presume a leisure class that can buy and read them. It is the narrowness of the perspective of this article that bothers me. To me, the article seems to be written from a personal perspective and no greater context is provided for the reader. These articles (I thought) were supposed to be written for the general reader who may not even be English, never mind an English Literature major. Mattisse 15:26, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
Nineteenth-century living conditions in Britain are tangential to a discussion of an eighteenth-century novel, in my opinion. Awadewit | talk 15:54, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
Please give examples of what you think needs to be explained further in the article. Your example above regarding class is incorrect; not every woman may have had the ability to become a writer, but when Wollstonecraft did so, it was out of desperation. She had already tried being a governess, a companion and a teacher - she was broke. Being a writer in eighteenth-century Britain was not anything to write home about. Also, novels were not just for the "leisured class" - they were one of the first pieces of mass culture. Awadewit | talk 15:54, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
Please give examples of where the article becomes "personal" or "narrow" because I believe that I have presented the scholarly consensus regarding this book. Awadewit | talk 15:54, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
Note that Mary was written in 1788, not in 1860 or 1880. Yes, I think the above quote is not relevant. --AnonEMouse(squeak) 15:03, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, my mistake. I tried to do a quick English history review and got it wrong. I don't feel like boning up on my English history enough to penetrate this article, so I will leave it up to the English who already know it. Mattisse 17:05, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Comment - I would still like to see some historical context to the article to mitigate what I see as extravagant claims. However, until I am willing to ferret that out I can see that will not happen. Perhaps you could explain the following two sentences in the context of calling this a "tragic story". Aside from the tragic story part, this quote makes no sense to me, especially since later on it is stated that in Mary Wollstonecraft employs a rhetorical device that highlights the autobiographical elements in the story and emphasizes the reality of "the fiction".
As Diane Long Hoeveler has demonstrated, Mary is not only a sentimental novel, but, with its emphasis on death, hyperbolic emotion and persecution, also a gothic novel; Hoeveler identifies in the text what she calls "Gothic feminism", an ideology that values the persecuted heroine above all: it "is not about being equal to men" but rather "about being morally superior to men. It is about being a victim." In other words, Hoeveler argues that the position of victim grants women moral authority.
Furthermore, I still have trouble seeing the following as a tragic story in that day and age.
At the end of the novel, Charles returns from Europe and he and Mary establish something of a life together, but Mary is unhealthy and can barely stand to be in the same room with her husband; the last few lines of the novel imply that she will die young.
Not all of the interpretations of the book agree, so it is natural that some will contradict each other. I have followed WP:NPOV and presented all of the major scholarly interpretations of the text. Is there something specific in this passage that I could make clearer? Awadewit | talk 23:13, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
As I said before, in calling the story "tragic", I am following the sources. Awadewit | talk 23:13, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Question - So you are saying that all of the major scholarly interpretations of the text agree that the word "tragic" is an accurate description of the work and that is why you can use the word in the lead in the first sentence of the article? Mattisse 13:18, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
All of the major scholarly interpretations that attempt to describe the book to an audience who has never read it before use vocabulary like "tragic" or "tragic" itself. The Todd biography is a good example - its audience is scholars and lay people alike. Awadewit | talk 16:01, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Support. (I have edited the article, whatever that means.) Awadewit, could the caption of the Fuseli be given some relevance to the article? I don't see any related references in-text. Also, nice show of patience on this FAC. –Outriggr§ 00:06, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the copy edit! I have used the Fuseli image as a way to buttress the description of Fanny and Wollstonecraft's relationship - it is supposed to suggest a sense of romance to the reader. There is no direct connection to the novel itself (a nice reference, however, for those in Wollstonecraft know, is that Fuseli was another one of Wollstonecraft's "romantic friends"). If you have an idea for what to say about the image, just add it in. Awadewit | talk 00:19, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
I see. (I didn't mean copy edit, but just literally that I touched the article before FAC.) In that case a caption would only cheapen the effect! –Outriggr§ 00:36, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
If you have any time, perhaps you could give the article an even more thorough copy edit? Tony1 has raised some concerns about the prose. I would be very appreciative... :) Awadewit | talk 00:41, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Comment - And that is considered NPOV - "supposed to suggest a sense of romance to the reader"? No direct connection to the novel itself. I guess that is called impression management. That in a nutshell is my whole objection to this article. But I know there are enough "in" fans to give it a pass despite all. So I will shut up. Mattisse 00:50, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
The image is NPOV - it is supposed to be illustrating this quotation: "More importantly, the friendship between Mary and Ann closely resembles the relationship between Wollstonecraft and her intimate companion Fanny Blood, who meant "all the world" to her and, as Wollstonecraft's husband William Godwin later put it, "for whom she contracted a friendship so fervent, as for years to have constituted the ruling passion of her mind"." - The image has a direct connection to Wollstonecraft's biography, which is important context for this novel. I really would appreciate it if you would detail what exactly you see as POV in this article. Either list the discrepencies between the scholarship and this article or, if you are not familiar with the scholarship, list what you suspect is POV. Thanks. Awadewit | talk 00:59, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Comment - Approval of this article for FA will open the way for other impression managed pieces. Perhaps that is good. Editors who are impassioned about their subject matter will have more leeway. Mattisse 13:18, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
I cannot address your specific concerns unless you tell me what they are. Awadewit | talk 16:01, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Support - a little gem. I also found the inclusion of the Romeo and Juliet painting without any context in the article itself a little puzzling. I think it needs tying into the article, but I can't think of an easy way to do it without it reading awkwardly. There are also some possible redlinks to The History of Eliza Warwick, The Platonic Marriage, The Young Gentleman and Lady's Instructor and Fanny Blood. I haven't added them in case they are really too minor to ever have their own articles but please link them if they aren't. Yomanganitalk 12:21, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
I do not believe that there is sufficient material published on any of those works or on Fanny to merit a separate page for them. I will think about possible captions. Awadewit | talk 16:01, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the article's talk page or in Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates. No further edits should be made to this page.