Sylvia Pankhurst was the daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and younger sister of Christabel. She was also the rebel in the family and stood alongside Keir Hardie when he formed the Labour Party. This title tells her story in detail.
Together with her mother, Emmeline, Christabel Pankhurst co-led the single-sex Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), founded in 1903 and soon regarded as the most notorious of the groupings campaigning for the parliamentary vote for women. A First Class Honours Graduate in Law, the determined and charismatic Christabel, a captivating orator, revitalised the women’s suffrage campaign by rousing thousands of women to become suffragettes, as WSPU members were called, and to demand rather than ask politely for their democratic citizenship rights. A supreme tactician, her advocacy of ‘militant’, unladylike tactics shocked many people, and the political establishment. When an end to militancy was called on the outbreak of war in 1914, she encouraged women to engage in war work as a way to win their enfranchisement. Four years later, when enfranchisement was granted to certain categories of women aged thirty and over, she stood unsuccessfully for election to parliament, as a member of the Women’s Party. In 1940 she moved to the USA with her adopted daughter, and had a successful career there as a Second Adventist preacher and writer. However, she is mainly remembered for being the driving force behind the militant wing of the women’s suffrage movement. This full-length biography, the first for forty years, draws upon feminist approaches to biography writing to place her within a network of supportive female friendships. It is based upon an unrivalled range of previously untapped primary sources.
This is the biography of Sylvia Pankhurst. A promising art student, she became involved in the Suffragette movement and was especially keen to take the cause to the East End of London. Much of her life was devoted to the causes of anti-fascism, anti-imperialism and the independence of Ethiopia.
Rejecting the deadening conventions of their Victorian elders, the rebel girls demanded new freedoms and new rights. They took their suffrage message out to the remotest Yorkshire dales and fishing harbours, to win Edwardian hearts and minds. 16-year-old Huddersfield weaver Dora Thewlis on arrest was catapulted onto the tabloid front-pages as 'Baby Suffragette'. Her life was transformed. Dancer Lilian Lenton waited till her twenty-first birthday - then determined to burn two buildings a week until the Liberal government granted women the vote. Rebel Girls shows how this daring campaigning shifted from community suffragettes to militant mavericks.
This reader contains a mixture of new narratives on suffrage, together with reinterpretations of some long-established truths about the campaign by British women for the vote. Some chapters shift the focus from the great and the good based in London, and explore the issues which motivated supporters in other parts of Britain. Other chapters illuminate the lengths some men were prepared to go to see women become voters - and the lengths others were prepared to go to stop them. A variety of topics is covered by the contributors, who include both established scholars and writers relatively new to the field.
This book builds upon critical reevaluations of modernism and British literature of the 1930s with a simultaneous focus on discourses of race, gender, and empire. The essays direct attention to the complications and ambivalence accumulating around the meanings of Englishness. They reject analyses of texts as chronicles of personal psychological development in favor of analyses that assume texts are shaped by their authors' public intellectual involvement. In addition, they offer detailed, specific explorations of ways in which British women in the 1930s narrativize empire and war. Thus they will resonate with significance for readers in the early twenty-first century for whom empire and war, as well as terror and security, are part of the discourse of everyday life. Robin Hackett is an Associate Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire. Freda S. Hauser is an independent scholar. Gay Wachman is retired from the State University of New York-Old Westbury.