The Edwardian Woman
By Duncan Crow
Published October 10th 2012 by Routledge – 240 pages
Covering the period from the beginning of the twentieth century to the outbreak of the First World War, this entertaining account describes the lives of women in all classes of society: the entertainments they watched, the clothes they wore, their education and the effect it had on women’s magazines, the work they did and the rise of the ‘office’ as the Mecca for working women. The author also considers the changing attitudes to contraception and sex.
This period, particularly its latter part, saw the rejection of old leaders and old habits. In politics, in the trade unions, and especially in the women’s movement, the refusal of a so-called reforming government to accede to moderate demands resulted in the rise to power of militants.
While primarily about Britain the book also studies women in Germany, France and the United States, offering a particularly revealing account of the stories of women, famous and not, with a lucid, readable outline of the society in which they lived and the social changes that affected their lives and to which they themselves contributed.
1. The Edge of the Volcano 2. The Yellow Rich 3. ‘Pretty Faces and Large Fortunes’ 4. ‘A Goddess to Many’ 5. Militants from Manchester 6. Ten Shillings a Week 7. The Countess of Gaiety 8. The Kingdom of Fashion 9. One in Every Four 10. Chief Cooks and Lady Helps 11. The Marriage Question 12. The English Miss 13. No Votes for Women… 14. …And Chastity for Men