Comradeship and Sisterhood in English Socialist-Feminist Utopias of 1880s–90s
Keywords:New Woman, Woman Question, utopias, comradeship, sisterhood, fin de siècle
The figure of the New Woman, being articulated in the second half of the nineteenth century, is “a feminist in search of New Women” and it is strongly utopian. Utopian works written by female and feminist writers were published from the 1870s: we can refer to such socialist-feminist works as Jane Hume Clapperton’s Margaret Dunmore, or, A Socialist Home (1888), Elizabeth Corbett’s New Amazonia (1889), Lady Florence Dixie’s Gloriana (1890), Isabella Ford’s On the Threshold (1895), and Gertrude Dix’s The Image Breakers (1900). The dreamlike new harmonies of the fin de siècle feminist utopias are also related to the socialist debates about “the Woman Question” which involved, for instance, Friedrich Engels, Eleanor Marx, Edward Aveling, and August Bebel. Consequently, analysing the literary works, I discuss the current issues of distribution of female and male tasks, forms of comradeship, companionship and sisterhood presented in the framework of the ideal-utopian future communities.
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