April 27

Amber pages:

Today in 1759, the biethdate of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin...

and what a shame that it wasn't four days earlier, or the event that I would like it to synchronise with four days later - on April 23rd 2018 I happened to be walking from Westminster Undergound towards the Tate, and wondering what major political event it must have been, because Parliament Square was cordoned off in its entirety, no entry, police everywhere - it turned out they were unveiling (and about bloody time too!) a statue to Millicent Fawcett, pioneering feminist even before Emily Pankhurst and the Suffragettes, and this the first statue of a woman in the locality of Parliament (though I can't help pointing out how much smaller it is, how much closer to the ground it is, than any of the great men)...

But that was the 23rd, and the birthdate of Mary Wollstencraft Godwin was the 27th... and when you see that name, do you think: Godwin? Shouldn't that be Shelley? Why would you use her maiden name? And then you look at the date - 1759 - way too early for Mary Shelley. Her mother, perhaps... and yes, one more, and always yet one more, of the anonymities of great, and glorious, and brilliant women, whose names would be household if they had been men, but, as Voltaire once said sarcastically of his beloved Gabrielle (Gabrielle Emilie de Breteuil, the Marquise du Ch√Ętelet), she was "a great man whose only fault lay in being a woman".

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