Spinsters and Lesbians: Independent Womanhood in the United States - The Cutting Edge: Lesbian Life and Literature Series (Paperback)Trisha Franzen (author)
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Americans have long held fast to a rigid definition of womanhood, revolving around husband, home, and children. Women who rebelled against this definition and carved out independent lives for themselves have often been rendered invisible in U.S. history.
In this unusual comparative study, Trisha Franzen brings to light the remarkable lives of two generations of autonomous women: Progressive Era spinsters and mid-twentieth century lesbians. While both groups of women followed similar paths to independence--separating from their families, pursuing education, finding work, and creating woman-centered communities--they faced different material and cultural challenge and came to claim very different identities.
Many of the turn-of-the-century women were prominent during their time, from internationally recognized classicist Edith Hamilton through two early Directors of the Women's Bureau, Mary Anderson and Freida Miller. Maturing during the time of a broad and powerful women's movement, they were among that era's new women, the often-single women who were viewed as in the vanguard of women's struggle for equality.
In contrast, never-married women after World War II, especially lesbians, were considered beyond the pale of real womanhood. Before the women's and gay/lesbian liberation movements, they had no positive contemporary images of alternative lives for women. Highlighting the similarities and differences between women-oriented women confronting changing gender and sexuality systems, Spinsters and Lesbians thus traces a continuum among women who constructed lives outside institutionalized heterosexuality.
Publisher: New York University Press
Number of pages: 258
Weight: 295 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
"From James Patron's 1855 "Life of Horace Greeley" through Greeley's 1868 autobiography "Recollections of a Busy Life", and down to the present, dozens of voices have told the story and legend of Horace Greeley. Williams's rich and well-presented account of his ideological and political legacy is a welcome addition to that chorus. It is certainly worth hearing."
-"The Journal of American History",
"Williams's work is an essential one for those wanting to understand the social and political climate in the United States during the time between some have called the two American revolutions- ones that was fought for liberty and one that was pursued for freedom."
-"Civil War Book Review",
"A splendid telling of a story that couldn't be more timely now that we are in another difficult and controversial war."
-"The Wall Street Journal",
"Williams gives a straightforward account . . . [and] argues that Greeley unswervingly devoted himself to a single ideal--American freedom--and was, in turn, crucial to its development."
-"The New Yorker",
"In Mr. Williams' hands, Greeley comes through as a warm-hearted eccentric whose influence was greater than that of any editor today."
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