There are many anniversaries in 2018 but two caught my attention recently. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was published 200 years ago this year. She obviously had an interest is horror stories as she also wrote Mathilda and other stories which have disturbing and supernatural themes. When he read the manuscript of Mathilda, Shelley’s father was so upset by it that he refused to return the manuscript to her and it remained unpublished for over 100 years.
It is strange how one thing leads to another. 2018 it is also the 100 years Anniversary of the Representation of the People’s Act. This act enabled all men over 21 and some women over 30 to be able to vote for the first time. Mary Shelley’s Mother Mary Wollstonecraft was considered the first major feminist in England and published the Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792. Sadly Mary Shelley did not know her mother as she died shortly after Mary was born. Her Father was William Godwin a radical philosopher moved in a circle of people who were the most celebrated writers, artists, scientists and thinkers of their day so it was inevitable that some of these ideas would be osmosed by Mary and her siblings. Although unlike her parents Mary’s work was fictional it did encompass many feminist ideas and themes.I have been checking our stock to see what books may be of interest in light of these anniversaries.
- Mary Wollstonecraft a revolutionary life by Janet Todd £15.00
- Frankenstein and Mathilda and Other stories by Mary Shelley published by Wordsworth paperbacks. This series is a collection of very inexpensive paperbacks great to try out an author, £2.00 each.
Josephine Butler a life Sketch by W T Stead. £150.00Josephine Butler was a social reformer and activist for the Rights of Women during the Victorian era. She campaigned votes for women, on the right of education for women and was very active in trying to stop the prostitution and trafficking of children and young women. I always find it so interesting when I can see part of a book’s journey and this copy of Josephine Butler’s life is a presentation copy to Lady Constance Bulwer Lytton. Lady Lytton was a staunch supporter of the Women’s Social and Political Union and was imprisoned 4 times for her activities in support of this militant organisation. She is also a local girl and is resting in a Mausoleum in Knebworth Park. The inscription in this book is signed by “A Liverpool Suffragette” There is a lot happening around these anniversaries. The mint are producing commemorative coins of Frankenstein and Women’s Suffrage and the National Trust is running exhibitions called Women and Power at any of their sites which have strong links with women who made a difference. I want to go to Cliveden House where they are doing an exhibition on Nancy Astor, who was the first female M.P to take her seat in the House of Commons. There are also some new titles which I think have been published in celebration of these Anniversaries. Do not forget we can also get new titles for you. Here are some you may want to check out. The list is a mix of adult and children’s titles
- In Search of Mary Shelley by Fiona Sampson which was recently Radio 4’s Book of the Week
- Mary Shelley by Miranda Seymour
- 100 Nasty Women of History: brilliant, badass and completely fearless women that everybody should know By Hannah Jewell
- Women and Power by Mary Beard
- 200 Women who will Change the Way you See the World Today by Ruth Hobday
- Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World published 2017 and Fantastically Great Women Who Made History published 2018 both by Kate Pankhurst
- Little leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison published 2018