Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark

Mary WOLLSTONECRAFT (1759 - 1797)

Published in 1796, Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark is a personal travel narrative by the eighteenth-century British feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft. The twenty-five letters cover a wide range of topics, from sociological reflections on Scandinavia and its peoples to philosophical questions regarding identity. Published by Wollstonecraft's career-long publisher, Joseph Johnson, it was the last work issued during her lifetime.

Wollstonecraft undertook her tour of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark in order to retrieve a stolen treasure ship for her lover, Gilbert Imlay. Believing that the journey would restore their strained relationship, she eagerly set off. However, over the course of the three months she spent in Scandinavia, she realized that Imlay had no intention of renewing the relationship. The letters, which constitute the text, drawn from her journal and from missives she sent to Imlay, reflect her anger and melancholy over his repeated betrayals. Letters Written in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark is therefore both a travel narrative and an autobiographical memoir.

Using the rhetoric of the sublime, Wollstonecraft explores the relationship between self and society in the text. She values subjective experience, particularly in relation to nature; champions the liberation and education of women; and illustrates the detrimental effects of commerce on society.

Letters Written in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark was Wollstonecraft's most popular book in the 1790s—it sold well and was reviewed favorably by most critics.

Wollstonecraft's future husband, philosopher William Godwin, wrote: "If ever there was a book calculated to make a man in love with its author, this appears to me to be the book."

The book also influenced Romantic poets such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who drew on its themes and its aesthetic. While the book initially inspired readers to travel to Scandinavia, it failed to retain its popularity after the publication of Godwin's Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1798, which revealed Wollstonecraft's unorthodox private life." (Summary from Wikipedia, revised a little by Stav Nisser.)

Genre(s): Letters

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 Introduction Rosie
00:13:59
Play 01 Letter 1 LizMourant
00:19:36
Play 02 Letter 2 LizMourant
00:08:40
Play 03 Letter 3 LizMourant
00:12:15
Play 04 Letter 4 Amy Gramour
00:06:33
Play 05 Letter 5 LizMourant
00:23:09
Play 06 Letter 6 Brendan Stallard
00:14:14
Play 07 Letter 7 Brendan Stallard
00:26:44
Play 08 Letter 8 Brendan Stallard
00:21:59
Play 09 Letter 9 Brendan Stallard
00:16:19
Play 10 Letter 10 Brendan Stallard
00:19:29
Play 11 Letter 11 salambander
00:10:24
Play 12 Letter 12 Amy Gramour
00:05:52
Play 13 Letter 13 Elaine Webb
00:23:13
Play 14 Letter 14 Amy Gramour
00:08:00
Play 15 Letter 15 Amy Gramour
00:07:48
Play 16 Letter 16 Elaine Webb
00:13:27
Play 17 Letter 17 Amy Gramour
00:09:28
Play 18 Letter 18 sylly
00:12:03
Play 19 Letter 19 Elaine Webb
00:15:29
Play 20 Letter 20 elfpen
00:11:10
Play 21 Letter 21 Amy Gramour
00:05:41
Play 22 Letter 22 Elaine Webb
00:22:19
Play 23 Letter 23 Amy Gramour
00:09:08
Play 24 Letter 24 Amy Gramour
00:05:33
Play 25 Letter 25 Amy Gramour
00:02:19
Play 26 Appendix Amy Gramour
00:02:45