Mary Astell

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Mary Astell (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 12 November 1666 – Londres, 11 May 1731) was an English feminist writer and rhetorician. Her advocacy of equal educational opportunities for women has earned her the title "the first English feminist."

Quotes[edit]

  • The numberless treatises of antiquities, philosophy, mathematics, natural and other history ... written originally in, or translated to our tongue are sufficient to lead us a great way into any science our curiosity shall prompt us to. The greatest difficulty we struggled with, was the want of a good art of reasoning, which we had not, that I know of, till that defect was supplied by Locke, whose Essay on Human Understanding makes large amends for the want of all others in that kind.
  • Again, if Absolute Sovereignty be not necessary in a State, how comes it to be so in a family? Or if in a Family why not in a State; since no Reason can Be alle'd for the one that will not hold more strongly for the other?
    • As quoted in Mary Astell: Reason, Gender, Faith, p. 203, by William Kolbrener. Editor Michal Michelson. Editorial Routledge, 2016. ISBN 1317100093.
  • An ill husband may deprive a wife of the comfort and quiet of her life, give occasion of exercising her virtue, try her patience and fortitude to the utmost, which is all he can do; it is herself only that can accomplish her ruin.
    • As quoted in The Whole duty of a woman: female writers in seventeenth century England, p. 157, by Angeline Goreau. Editorial Dial Press, 1985. ISBN 0385278780.
  • Is it the being tied to One that offends us? Why this ought rather to recommend it to us, and would really do so, were we guided by reason, and not by humor and brutish passion. He who does not make friendship the chief inducement of his choice, and prefer it before any other consideration does not deserve a good wife, and therefore should not complain if he goes without one...
    The Christian institution of marriage provides the best that may be for domestic quiet and content, and for the education of children.
    • As quoted in Women's Political & Social Thought: An Anthology, p. 112. Editors Hilda L. Smith, Berenice A. Carroll. Editorial Indiana University Press, 2000. ISBN 0253337585.
  • Thus, whether it be wit or beauty that a man’s in love with, there are no great hopes of a lasting happiness; beauty, with all the helps of arts, is of no long date; the more it is , the sooner it decays; and he, who only or chiefly chose for beauty, will in a little time find the same reason for another choice.
    • Reflection upon Marriage, as quoted in Astell: Political Writings, p. 42, by Mary Astell, Editor Patricia Springborg. Editorial Cambridge University Press, 1996. ISBN 0521428459.
  • She must be a fool with a witness, who can believe a man, proud and vain as he is, will lay his boasted authority, the dignity and prerogative of his sex, on moment at her feet, but in prospect of taking it up again to more advantage; he may call himself her slave a few days, but it is only in order to make her his all the rest of his life.
    • Reflection upon Marriage, as quoted in Astell: Political Writings, p. 44.
  • The better our lot is in this world, and the more we have of it, the greater is our leisure to prepare for the next; we have the more opportunity to exercise that God-like quality, to taste that divine pleasure, doing good to the bodies and souls of those beneath us.

External links[edit]

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