pestiferous purple

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Senior Member
Hi there,

"It is the pestiferous purple which renders the progress of civilization a curse, and warps the understanding, till men of sensibility doubt whether the expansion of intellect produces a greater portion of happiness or misery. But the nature of the poison points out the antidote; and had Rousseau mounted one step higher in his investigation; or could his eye have pierced through the foggy atmosphere, which he almost disdained to breathe, his active mind would have darted forward to contemplate the perfection of man in the establishment of true civilization, instead of taking his ferocious flight back to the night of sensual ignorance." (A Vindication of the Rights of Woman #2 in our series by Mary Wollstonecraft) (chapter I)

What is "the pestiferous purple"? Is it one kind of disease (epidemic)?


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