Mary Wollstonecraft, heralding the importance of female education along with the process of life-learning, claims in the preface to the collection, The Female Reader:
[…] supposing a young lady has received the best education, she has advanced but a few steps towards the improvement of her mind and heart – that is the business of her whole life; […] As we are created accountable creatures we must run the race ourselves, and by our exertions acquire virtue: the outmost our friends can do is to point out the right road, and clear away some of the loose rubbish which might at first retard our progress.
Almost fifty years later, Mary Shelley transposed Wollstonecraft’s suggestions in the short story “Euphrasia; A Tale of Greece” (1838), published in the Keepsake. Like Wollstonecraft’s ideal lady, Euphrasia is a scholar:
The study of the classic literature of her country corrected her taste and exalted her love of the beautiful. While a child she improvised passionate songs of liberty; and as she grew in years and loveliness, and her heart opened to tenderness, and she became aware of all the honor and happiness that a woman must derive from being held the friend of man, …read more