Gilbert Imlay: Citizen of the World

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Wil Verhoeven's comprehensive new biography seeks to expand our knowledge of Gilbert Imlay, best known as the faithless lover of Mary Wollstonecraft and father of their daughter Fanny. Wollstonecraft, who was driven to attempt suicide by his indifference and infidelity, undertook her famous trip to Scandinavia in an attempt to rescue her lover's failing business interests; the wonderful Letters Written during a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, addressed to Imlay, were the result. Verhoeven's stated goal is to ‘correct and nuance’ the traditional perception of Imlay as merely a faithless cad, an impression inevitably created by Wollstonecraft's heart-rending letters and the editorial intervention of William Godwin. Thus, this biography chronicles in detail Imlay's early career as a Revolutionary American soldier and land speculator in Kentucky and paints an original portrait of a man whose addiction to speculation and whose personal charm briefly propelled him into the heart of the political and economic upheavals taking place on both sides of the Atlantic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-126
Number of pages3
JournalJournal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


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