I’ll admit here that I’ve had a bit of a blogging slump – I haven’t posted since Monday, I think (did anyone notice, though?) and have got into that cycle one gets into of “Does anyone care what I read anyway,” etc. All very tedious. I’ve slipped behind with my blog reading, too – not because I don’t care but just I think because I’ve got out of the habit of keeping my life ordered and under control, with house chores slipping around all over the place etc., since I’ve tried to come back to full arrangements now my medical issues seem fully resolved. Anyway, here’s a book I finished a while ago, and I’ll annoyingly be scrambling to catch up again now as I’ve finished two more since then!

Barbara Taylor – “Eve and the New Jerusalem”

(19 November 2016 – from Luci’s generous book bags at our London meetup)

As the subtitle is “Socialism and Feminism in the Nineteenth Century,” I thought it was going to be more about the late part of the century and the New Woman, but in fact it’s very specifically about Owenism in the 1830s to 1840s. This was a movemenbt which looked to create a new world order based in part (though more on the part of the followers than the founder) on sex equality and marriage reform, with a more standard emphasis on communal property and communities of believers (or should I say non-believers, as I understand it to be quite anti-established-religion?).

There were plenty of women providing voices and role models in the movement and more writing in to its newspaper, and the author works well with the primary sources – it’s a classic bit of 1980s feminist history work, which made me quite nostalgic for my university days just as Women’s Studies was fading out a bit. It’s great also great at setting the movement within its context, both in terms of the history of feminist and socialist writing extending from the 1790s and in terms of the anti-Jacobin suppression by organised religion of those movements and then also the suppression by “Victorian values” which quashed Owenism in the end, too.

There’s a good understanding of double or mixed standards and tensions within the movement and society, with working class families supporting the movement and an awareness that in fact women were tied not so much by marriage as by maternity. A careful and thorough work, even if it wasn’t quite what I expected.

This was Book 4 of my #20BooksOfSummer

I’m about to start “Rewilding” about getting back to nature, and “The Black Diamond” in case I don’t fancy returning to nature over the breakfast table, having read “The Gallery of Vanished Husbands” and “Something Wholesale”. And I’ll read your blog posts soon, if you’re someone I usually read!