English Feminism, 1780-1980

Paperback | June 1, 1997

byBarbara Caine

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Barbara Caine's fascinating analysis of feminism in England examines the relationship between feminist thought and actions, and wider social and cultural change over tow centuries. Professor Caine investigates the complex question surrounding the concept of a feminist 'tradition', and showshow much the feminism of any particular period related to the years preceding or following it. Though feminism may have lacked the kind of legitimating tradition evident in other forms of political thought, the ghost of Mary Wollstonecraft was something which all nineteenth- and twentieth-centuryfeminists had to come to terms with. Her story was a constant reminder of the connection between the demand for political and legal rights, and its conflation with the issues of personal and sexual rebellion. Like Wollstonecraft, every woman pioneer into the public arena faced assaults on her honouras well as on her intellectual position. The author also addresses the language of feminism: the introduction and changing meanings of the term 'feminist';the importance of literary representations of women; and the question of how one defines feminism, and establishes boundaries between feminismand the 'woman question'. She ends with a discussion of the new emphasis, post-1980s, on the need to think about 'feminisms' in the plural, rather than any single kind of feminism. analysis of feminist organizations, debates, and campaigns shows a keen sense of the relationship between feministthought and actions, and wider social and cultural change. The result is a fascinating study with a new perspective on feminists and feminist traditions, which can be used both as an introductory text and as an interpretative work. Professor Caine examines the complex questions surrounding theconcept of a feminist 'tradition', and shows how much the feminism of any particular period related to the years preceding or following it. Though feminism may have lacked the kind of legitimating tradition evident in other forms of political thought, the ghost of Mary Wollstonecraft is seen here assomething which all nineteenth- and twentieth-century feminists had to come to terms with. Her story was a constant reminder of the connection between the demand for political and legal rights, and its conflation with the issues of personal and sexual rebellion. Like Mary Wollstonecraft, every womanpioneer into the public arena was faced with assaults on her honour as well as on her intellectual position. Professor Caine also addresses the language of feminism: the introduction and changing meanings of the term `feminist'; the importance of literary representations of women; and the questionof how one defines feminism, and establishes boundaries between feminism and the `woman question'. She ends with a discussion of the new emphasis, post-1980s, on the need to think about `feminisms' in the plural, rather than any single kind of feminism.

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Barbara Caine's fascinating analysis of feminism in England examines the relationship between feminist thought and actions, and wider social and cultural change over tow centuries. Professor Caine investigates the complex question surrounding the concept of a feminist 'tradition', and showshow much the feminism of any particular period...

Barbara Caine is at Monash University, Australia.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:354 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.79 inPublished:June 1, 1997Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198204345

ISBN - 13:9780198204343

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Table of Contents

ChronologyIntroduction1. Feminism and the Rights of WomenSocial change and sexual difference in the late eighteenth centuryMary Wollstonecraft and the origins of modern FeminismFeminism and the Woman question2. Feminism and the Women Question in the early Nineteenth CenturyMen in feminism: William Thompson and the Unitarian radicalsThe tragic tale of Caroline NortonHarriet Martineau and the slow development of feminist consciousnessFeminism, Evangelicalism, and `Women's sphere'3. Mid-Victorian FeminismThe Langham Place circle and the ghost of Mary WollstonecraftFeminism, liberalism, and the problem of sexual oppressionFeminist campaigns and feminist strategiesNation and empire in Victorian feminism4. The New Woman and the MilitantFeminism and the new womanFeminism, the labour movement, and working-class womenMilitancyFeminism and imperialism5. Feminism and the Woman Citizen in the Inter-War YearsThe legacy of the WarA feminist programmeTraining women for citizenshipFeminist questions and party politicsFrom politics to culture: feminist theory in the 1920s and 1930sFeminism and internationalism6. The Post-War WorldThe impact of warFeminist organizations and the feminist agendaThe woman question in the 1950s and 1960sAfterword: From Feminism to FeminismsNotesSelect BibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`provides a welcome synthesis of a generation of scholarship on feminism as political movement and ideology ... her account highlights a wide variety of individuals, movements, and texts ... for those unfamiliar with the vast literature on English feminism, this is a smart and helpful guide... Caine's analysis is most innovative where she fills persistent lacunae in historians' accounts of feminism'Laura E. Nym Mayhall, The Catholic University of America, Twentieth Century British History, vol 10, no 2 1999