"The man has been changed into an artificial monster by the station in which he was born, and the consequent homage that benumbed his faculties like the torpedo’s touch."

— Wollstonecraft, Mary (1759-1797)


Place of Publication
London
Publisher
Joseph Johnson
Date
December 1790
Metaphor
"The man has been changed into an artificial monster by the station in which he was born, and the consequent homage that benumbed his faculties like the torpedo’s touch."
Metaphor in Context
The civilization which has taken place in Europe has been very partial, and, like every custom that an arbitrary point of honour has established, refines the manners at the expence of morals, by making sentiments and opinions current in conversation that have no root in the heart, or weight in the cooler resolves of the mind. – And what has stopped its progress? – hereditary property – hereditary honours. The man has been changed into an artificial monster by the station in which he was born, and the consequent homage that benumbed his faculties like the torpedo’s touch; – or a being, with a capacity of reasoning, would not have failed to discover, as his faculties unfolded, that true happiness arose from the friendship and intimacy which can only be enjoyed by equals; and that charity is not a condescending distribution of alms, but an intercourse of good offices and mutual benefits, founded on respect for justice and humanity.
(p. 39)
Provenance
Reading
Citation
First edition appears in December of 1790. Second edition, with MW's name on the cover, published December 14. 2 entries in ESTC (1790).

Reading The Vindications. eds. D. L. Macdonald and Kathleen Scherf. (Toronto: Broadview Press, 2001). [Based on the 2nd ed.] See also edition at the Online Library of Liberty <Link to OLL>.
Date of Entry
12/02/2009

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.