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The Victim of Prejudice - Second Edition 

The Victim of Prejudice - Second Edition

Written by: Mary Hays
Edited by: Eleanor Ty

Series: Broadview Editions
2nd Edition

Publication Date: January 01, 1998
260pp • Paperback / PDF / ePub
ISBN: 9781551112176 / 1551112175
Volume: 0

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Mary Hays was an outspoken Radical intellectual in the turbulent decade of the 1790's.  She argued vehemently for the need to recognise the moral and rational qualities of women, the necessity of a better system of education for girls, and the importance of giving women without fortunes a career without 'servitude in prostitution.'

The Victim of Prejudice—Hays' second novel, first published in 1799—is a powerful indictment of man-made institutions such as the courts and legislative systems which favour persons of wealth and rank.  In the novel the metaphor of women's confinement becomes real as the heroine's worst nightmares, her horrors and sense of helplessness become a physical reality.

The Victim of Prejudice is of great interest for its strong feminist content, and it is both powerful and moving as a literary work; this edition makes this important late eighteenth-century text again available to a wide readership.


"Mary Hays' passionate tale of a girl who is raped but refuses to marry her seducer offers a powerful alternative to Victorian constructions of the 'fallen woman'. This early feminist novel, here judiciously edited by Eleanor Ty, should be read by anyone interested in the literary history of the sexualized female, in women's studies, or in British Romantic Literature." - Anne K. Mellor, UCLA

Appendices of the new edition include excerpts from Wollstonecraft, Rousseau, Edward Moore, contemporary reviews, Hays' essays and letters.

Eleanor Ty is Associate Professor of English at Wilfrid Laurier University. She has published Empowering the Feminine (1999) and Unsex'd Revolutionaries (1993).

Table of Contents: [Back to Top]


Note to the Second Edition


A Note on the Text

Mary Hays: A Brief Chronology

The Victim of Prejudice

Appendix A: Debates about Frailty, Chastity, and the Dangers of Seduction

  1. Edward Moore, Fables for the Female Sex
  2. Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
  3. Advice to Unmarried Women: To Recover and Reclaim the Fallen
  4. [Mary Hays], Appeal to the Men of Great Britain in Behalf of Women

Appendix B: On Female Education, Abilities, and Rights

  1. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Émile
  2. Mary Hays, Letters and Essays, Moral and Miscellaneous
  3. [Mary Hays], Appeal to the Men of Great Britain in Behalf of Women
  4. M.H. [Mary Hays], "Improvements Suggested in Female Education"

Appendix C: On Novels and Romances

  1. Mary Hays, Letters and Essays, Moral and Miscellaneous
  2. M.H. [Mary Hays] "On Novel Writing"

Appendix D: Contemporary Reviews

  1. The Analytical Review
  2. The Critical Review
  3. The Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine

Select Bibliography

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The Victim of Prejudice - Second Edition

1998 • 260pp • Paperback • 9781551112176 / 1551112175

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Broadview Press acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund, and also acknowledges the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Freehand Books, an imprint of Broadview, acknowledges the support of the Canadian Council of the Arts.