Unlike many other women philosophers, Mary Astell came from a family of
merchants which didn't classify her as a member of the nobility.
She led a very quiet and private life while growing up, and both of her
parents died by the time she was 18 years old.
She moved to London in search of something better, and she came across
a bookseller who gave her a job writing pamphlets.
Mary lived a very simple life with few friends, and she never got married.
At the age of 65 she died of breast cancer.
Astell wrote a great deal about a variety of subjects with several writings
relating to religious and political controversies. Today she is widely
known for her feminist writings which include A Serious Proposal
to the Ladies and Reflections on Marriage.
Mary "argues that women's shortcomings are due to lack of education and
not to lack of native intellectual ability." She desired the creation
of institutions for women to be educated or for them to simply live, if
unmarried. In 1695, she wrote Letters Concerning the Love of
God, which questioned the role of God in relation to the causes
of pain and sin, as well as our reasons for loving only God.
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