|Full Name||Astell, Mary|
|Birth Place||Newcastle upon Tyne (United Kingdom)|
|Death Place||London (United Kingdom)|
Mary Astell was born into a family of coal merchants and received her education in philosophy and theology mainly by a paternal uncle who once studied in Cambridge. This uncle and her father both passed away when she was still a teenager. Later, her mother died when Astell was in her early twenties. As she did not have a significant inheritance, with very limited financial means, she moved to London around 1687, aiming to support herself as a writer. Her works include poetry, letters, straightforward philosophical works, polemics, and pamphlets. Her feminist reflections touched on subjects ranging from the improvement of women's intellectual capacities to the analysis of women's obedience in marriage, etc. In her own time, she was recognized as a philosopher and a writer. She was connected to intellectual circles of upper-class women that included Lady Catherine Jones, Lady Elizabeth Hastings, Lady Ann Coventry, and Elizabeth Hutcheson. She also debated with her contemporaries John Norris, John Locke, Bishop George Berkeley, and Shaftesbury on major philosophical questions of the day. She never married and did not have any children. Astell spent most of her fault life in London.