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A transatlantic alliance: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Vernon Lee

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The 15 feminist forerunners profiled in this collection are drawn from the so-called "New Woman" movement that evolved from the women born in the mid-19th century and their successors, the second generation, active at the turn of the century. They found themselves part of the first wave of feminism, women who who worked on such issues such as marital rights, women's economic independence and suffrage. Most critics and scholars have assumed this movement to be a white middle-class affair. this volume spotlights remarkable women from other backgrounds, as well as examining the work of well-known "New Women". Among them were: the African-Americans, Pauline Hopkins, co-founder of "The Colored American Magazine" and Amy Jacques vwho wrote for "The Negro World"; the Chinese-American Sui Sin Far; the Mexican-American Maria Cristina Mena; and Vera Brittain, best remembered as the author of "Testament of Youth", and pioneer of the "semi-detached marriage". Criticism of the "New Woman" is also represented here: Charlotte Perkins Gilman justified her fear of certain immigrants by the myth of "Anglo-Saxon" superiority; Dorothy Richardosn voiced her suspicions of those women who took the opportunities becoming available to them, calling them "man-trained women". While the "New Woman" may not always have been a progressive or liberal force, the variety and range of their influence in the international arena is never in doubt, making the women involved justifiably described today by the title "feminist forerunners".
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFeminist forerunners: new womanism and feminism in the early twentieth century
EditorsA. Heilmann
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPandora List
Pages34-43
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)086358425X
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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