By Barbara Caine
A study of Victorian feminism, this book focuses on four leading feminists: Emily Davies, Frances Power Cobbe, Josephine Butler, and Millicent Garrett Fawcett. Caine uncovers the range, diversity, and complexity of Victorian feminism, and examines the relationship between personal experience and feminist commitment. Caine sets her carefully researched biographical studies of the four women, each with her own fascinating history, in the context of the Victorian feminist movement. She explores the ideas and strategies of feminists in the late nineteenth century, analyzing the tensions which arose as they sought to achieve their aims and focusing on the complex relationship of party politics and feminist commitment. Caine's insight into the vision and beliefs of these Victorian feminists is balanced by her scholarly understanding of the society within which they worked. She gives us vivid and perceptive portraits of four very different individuals, who nevertheless shared a commitment to improving the lot of women.