English Feminism, 1780-1980

OUP Oxford
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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 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 was something 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 Wollstonecraft, every woman pioneer into the public arena faced assaults on her honour as 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 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. analysis of feminist organizations, debates, and campaigns shows a keen sense of the relationship between feminist thought 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 the concept 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 as something 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 woman pioneer 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 question of 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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Additional Information

Publisher
OUP Oxford
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Published on
Jul 10, 1997
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Pages
354
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ISBN
9780191584756
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / Great Britain / General
History / Modern / 20th Century
History / Modern / General
Social Science / Feminism & Feminist Theory
Social Science / Gender Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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