Letters Written during a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark
  • Publication Date: January 14, 2013
  • ISBN: 9781551118086 / 1551118084
  • 266 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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

  • Publication Date: January 14, 2013
  • ISBN: 9781551118086 / 1551118084
  • 266 pages; 5½" x 8½"

“The art of travelling is only a branch of the art of thinking,” Mary Wollstonecraft wrote in one of her many reviews of works of travel writing. A Short Residence is her own travel memoir. In a series of letters addressed to an unnamed lover, the work narrates Wollstonecraft’s journey through Scandinavia in 1795, on much of which she was accompanied by her infant daughter. Passionate and personal, A Short Residence is at once a moving epistolary travel narrative, a politically-motivated ethnographic tract, a work of scenic tourism, and a sentimental journey. It is both as much a work of political thought as Wollstonecraft’s better known treatises, and a brilliant, innovative, and influential work in the genre.

This Broadview edition provides a helpful introduction and extensive appendices that contextualize this remarkable text in relation to key political and aesthetic debates. It also includes a significant selection from Wollstonecraft’s travel reviews.


“Since its publication in 1796, Wollstonecraft’s Short Residence has been recognized as her most beautiful and alluring work. A travelogue in letters, it is also a sophisticated experiment in genre. Historical reflection, ethnography, political and economic critique, philosophical reverie, and feminist memoir all take their turns as Wollstonecraft maps the limits of her idealism. Horrocks’ edition does justice to the magnificence and complexity of these Letters. The appendices alone provide material for an entire course in contemporary travel-writing, linking it to literary, philosophical, sentimental, and feminist concerns. An unparalleled achievement for Wollstonecraft scholarship and Romantic Studies.” — Mary Favret, Indiana University, Bloomington

“Ingrid Horrocks’ broad-ranging introduction and selection of appendices function as a highly useful interpretive guidebook to the travel writings that they accompany. The judicious survey of texts concerning the revolutionary debate, late-eighteenth-century travel narratives, sentimental journeying, and biographical documents related to Wollstonecraft’s Scandinavian travels enable readers clearly to envision just how widely, and into what still-unsettled territories, Wollstonecraft’s travel writing extends. Horrocks’ emphasis on Wollstonecraft’s role as business partner augments the series of poses (ethnographer, mother, victim) that scholars have ascribed to ‘the little hero of each tale,’ thereby further loosening the boundaries between sentiment and calculation that Wollstonecraft’s entire life-writings work to achieve.” — Julie Carlson, University of California, Santa Barbara

List of Abbreviations
Mary Wollstonecraft: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

Letters Written during a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and

Appendix A: Wollstonecraft and the Revolutionary Debate

  1. From Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790)
  2. From Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)
  3. From Wollstonecraft, “Letter Introductory to a Series of Letters on the Present Character of the French Nation” (1793)

Appendix B: Two Other Responses to the French Revolution

  1. From Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
  2. From Helen Maria Williams, Letters Written in France, in the Summer of 1790 (1790)

Appendix C: Biographical Documents Related to Wollstonecraft’s Travels in Scandinavia

  1. Gilbert Imlay’s Commission Appointing Wollstonecraft as His Agent (1795)
  2. Wollstonecraft’s Letter to Andreas Peter Bernstorff, Prime Minister of Denmark (1795)
  3. Wollstonecraft’s Letters to Gilbert Imlay (1798)

Appendix D: Wollstonecraft’s Reviews of Travel Writing from the Analytical Review, 1789-92

  1. From Review of Letters from Barbary, France, Spain, Portugal, etc, by an English Officer (1789)
  2. From Review of Hester Lynch Piozzi, Observations and Reflections, Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy and Germany (1789)
  3. From Review of William Gilpin, Observations on the River Wye, and Several Parts of South Wales (1789)
  4. From Review of Richard Warner, A Companion in a Tour round Lymington (1789)
  5. From Review of William Hamilton, Letters Concerning the
    Northern Coast of the County of Antrim
  6. From Review of J[ohn] Hassell, Tour of the Isle of Wight (1790)
  7. From Review of Samuel Ireland, A Picturesque Tour through Holland, Brabant, and Part of France (1790)
  8. From Review of Helen Maria Williams, Letters Written in France, in the Summer, 1790 (1790)
  9. From Review of John Meares, Voyages Made in the Years 1788 and 1789, from China to the North-West Coast of America (1791)
  10. From Review of William Gilpin, Three Essays: On Picturesque Beauty; on Picturesque Travel; and on Sketching Landscape (1792)

Appendix E: Some Examples of Late Eighteenth-Century Travel Writing in Various Modes

  1. From Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Reveries of the Solitary Walker (1782)
  2. From Gilbert Imlay, A Topographical Description of the Western Territory of North America (1792)
  3. From William Coxe, Travels into Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Denmark (1784-90)
  4. From Helen Maria Williams, A Tour in Switzerland (1798)

Appendix F: Two Sentimental Encounters

  1. From Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy (1768)
  2. From Wollstonecraft, The Wrongs of Woman: Or, Maria. A Fragment (1798)

Appendix G: Contemporary Reviews of A Short Residence

  1. Analytical Review (1796)
  2. The Monthly Mirror (1796)
  3. The Monthly Review (1796)
  4. British Critic (1796)

Appendix H: Godwin’s Framing of A Short Residence

  1. From William Godwin, “Preface,” Posthumous Works of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1798)
  2. From William Godwin, Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1798)

Works Cited/Select Bibliography

Ingrid Horrocks is a Senior Lecturer in English at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand.