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The Feminist Avant-Garde
Transatlantic Encounters of the Early Twentieth Century

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  • Author: Lucy Delap, St Catharine's College, Cambridge
  • Date Published: December 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521124904

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About the Authors
  • In the early twentieth century the term 'feminist' was used by self-consciously 'modern' men and women, to distinguish their ideas from those of 'the women's movement', and even to adopt anti-suffrage positions. In the first major study of twentieth-century feminism as an Anglo-American phenomenon, Lucy Delap offers a unique perspective on the politics of gender during this period. Delap explores the intellectual history and cultural politics of Anglo-American feminism in a way that challenges the reader to rethink the nature of both the 'avant-garde' and 'feminism'. Focusing on the development of transnational feminisms within Edwardian and interwar print culture, feminist political argument is placed at the centre of an account of modernism, highlighting some unexpected and often uncomfortable components, including the feminist fascination with individualism and egoism; ambivalence over World War One; utopian thinking and captivation by the idea of 'the simple life'; anti-Semitism; sexual radicalism; and ideas about 'the superwoman'.

    • Draws on fresh and neglected primary sources in the history of feminism
    • Links the history of feminism to its contemporary Edwardian and interwar intellectual context
    • Integrates and contrasts the history of feminism for two national contexts
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    Awards

    • Winner of the 2008 Women's History Network book prize.

    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'Lucy Delap's elegant book reveals so much that is new about the multiple resonances of early twentieth century feminism, as a generation of young women tried with great boldness to fashion a new place for themselves in the promising modern era. Delap opens up entirely new areas of research in her probings of the feminist avant-garde's association with the political Right as well as the Left. Most importantly, she gives us a sense of the intensity and brilliance of ideas that surged back and forth across the Atlantic, as the newest of New Women in London and New York vied to make their city the 'storm center' of feminist politics and culture. This is a wonderful book, and a model of how to write history.' Christine Stansell, Princeton University

    Review of the hardback: '… [an] identity in opposition to the mainstream women's movement has recently been plucked out of obscurity and is presented wonderfully in Lucy Delap's The Feminist Avant-Garde. … Meticulously researched and beautifully written …' Contemporary British History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521124904
    • length: 376 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. 'Fastidious, difficult, different': Anglo-American feminists
    2. Transatlantic interchanges and rival storm-centres
    3. Individualism in feminist political argument
    4. The state, the home and nurturing citizenship
    5. The endowment of motherhood controversy
    6. The modern and the pre-modern: feminist utopian thinking
    7. The genius and the superwoman: feminist appropriations
    8. Feminists and the impact of world war
    9. 'Ephemeral vanguardism': conclusions and post-war developments.

  • Author

    Lucy Delap, St Catharine's College, Cambridge

    Awards

    • Winner of the 2008 Women's History Network book prize.

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