1795 | Copenhagen

True North

Mary Wollstonecraft on the happiest people in the world.

The Danes, in general, seem extremely averse to innovation, and if happiness only consists in opinion, they are the happiest people in the world; for I never saw any so well satisfied with their own situation.

Yet the climate appears to be very disagreeable, the weather being dry and sultry, or moist and cold, the atmosphere never having that sharp, bracing purity which in Norway prepares you to brave its rigors. I do not hear the inhabitants of this place talk with delight of the winter, which is the constant theme of the Norwegians; on the contrary, they seem to dread its comfortless inclemency.


Mary Wollstonecraft

From Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Born in England during the Enlightenment, Wollstonecraft founded a progressive girls’ school with her sisters in 1784. The school could not manage financially, and Wollstonecraft began to support herself as a governess. She wrote her Letters during a journey through Scandinavia with her infant first daughter. In 1797 she died during the childbirth of her second daughter, who became famous under her married name, Mary Shelley.