Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley

Mary Wollstonecraft is regarded as one of the founding feminist philosophers. Feminists often cite both her life and work as important influences. During her brief career, she wrote novels including a history of the French Revolution, a conduct book, and a children’s book. Wollstonecraft is best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), in which she argues that women are not naturally inferior to men, but appear to be only because they lack education. She suggests that both men and women should be treated as rational beings and imagines a social order founded on reason. If you’d like, here is a link to her writings: The Complete Works of Mary Wollstonecraft (10 Books With Active Table of Contents)

Wollstonecraft died at the age of 38, eleven days after giving birth to her second daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin. Known as Mary Shelley, her best known work was the Gothic novel, Frankenstein who some consider the first science fiction novel.

Mary Wollstonecraft
Mary Wollstonecraft by John Opie, c. 1797

Mary Mary, Where you going to?

A song written by Michael Nesmith before he was a member of the Monkees.  It was first recorded by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band on their East-West album on Elektra in 1966. The Monkees were musicians brought together for a TV series in 1966 who were creative artists in their own right.

Nesmith: “That song was written to be a hit. I knew it would be a hit. I never once thought of me doing the lead on that one. Mickey was my choice for that.”

Mary Mary, where you going to?

Michael Nesmith passed away on December 10, 2021. Rest in peace Michael. Thank you for all you gave us.

The lyrics to the song are about a fellow wanting just to be with Mary. It is interesting to note that other songs written during that time often used the name Mary to represent Marijuana.

The Monkees version:

Mary Mary Quite Contrary, how does your garden grow?

With Silver Bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row.

The origin of this nursery rhyme is not known. The oldest know print version is from Tommy Thumbs pretty song book published in 1744.

With the invention of the printing press, It was becoming much easier to print and circulate stories and rhymes that had only been spoken or hand-printed over many years, even centuries. It was a time which became known in the 18th century as the, “Age of Enlightenment”. As more printing presses were produced, more information was published at prices that the general public could afford. More people learned to read. Its not surprising to see how variations on the old traditional nursery rhymes might sell more books. Especially if they involved scandal of royalty or public figures. Both Mary I of England, also known as Bloody Mary, and Mary Queen of Scots, are thought to be inspirations for the rhyme. To learn more about this, go to the Wikipedia page Mary Mary Quite Contrary.