From Publishers Weekly
This rich, engrossing study of feminism in England between 1880 and 1914 reveals that feminists applied late Victorian values in their struggles for equality. Many middle-and upper-class feminists sought to "civilize" working-class culture by eliminating prostitution, alcoholism and overcrowding through legislation and philanthropy. Other feminists allied themselves with the eugenics movement in campaigns against vice and poverty. Most turn-of-the-century English feminists were ambivalent, even hostile, toward artificial birth control, believing sex to be a "slumbering beast" in need of constant dampening. Nevertheless, as English social anthropologist Bland shows, feminists took progressive stances in attempts to increase the legal protection of women and girls, to amend the divorce laws and to demand that men live by the same sexual ethics as women. Among the pioneers were Elizabeth Blackwell, Britain's first female doctor, who in the 1880s challenged the medical profession's right to define and control women, and Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy, who led a campaign to transform marriage, demanding an end to involuntary childbearing. Photos.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
If only [Ren] Denfeld had read Lucy Bland's Banishing the Beast before embarking on [The New Victorians], she might have stopped to think about why feminism has taken roads that sometimes appear extreme or ridiculous. Bland's book is a brilliant analysis of real Victorian society and the varieties of feminism within it. -- Everywoman
Packed with historical details, this work captures the spirit and conflicts of feminist thought. A superb examination of early feminist politics. -- Kirkus Reviews
Rich, engrossing study of feminism. -- Publishers Weekly