Today we celebrate International Women’s Day 2021 with some recent publications from Boydell & Brewer. Enjoy a fascinating account of the life of one of the most famous women of the Victorian era, learn about the many different experiences of women during the Second World War, celebrate women’s achievements in and influence on many aspects of medieval culture.
Happy International Women’s Day!
The Fearless Life of a Victorian Celebrity
This book expertly retells the story of that notorious Victorian eccentric who suffered many bouts of delusion and was an ardent supporter of spiritualism. Martin’s account manages to negotiate a biography situated between crazed behaviour and the pursuit of admirable causes. Weldon’s story offers a wide canvas introducing phenomena such as celebrity culture and major and marginal characters of Dickensian quality. This biography of Weldon, based on primary sources including Weldon’s own diaries and letters, therefore touches upon a wide variety of issues; Victorian society, nineteenth-century’s women’s history, the context of a social and cultural history of madness and marriage (law), and nineteenth-century British musical culture.
Exile, Occupation and Everyday Life
Drawing on a wide range of sources including oral interviews, scrapbooks, personal letters, diaries, newspaper articles, Mass Observation files and memoirs, the book illustrates some of the similarities and differences of women’s wartime experiences in different situations in different countries. The experiences covered include exile and living under occupation, coping with proximity to fighting and to the frontline, and dealing with everyday life in very trying circumstances.
Gender, Youth and South Africa’s Liberation Struggle
While there have been many books on South Africa’s liberation struggle, the involvement of African girls and young women has been all but missing. This book tells their story, analysing what life was like for African girls under apartheid, why some chose to join student organizations, engage in public protest, and take up arms against the state, and how they navigated the benefits and pitfalls of political activism. These young women participated in both non-violent and violent forms of political action, including attending marches and rallies, throwing stones or petrol bombs at police, punishing suspected informers and other offenders, and even joining underground guerrilla armies. Thousands of them were eventually detained, interrogated, and tortured by the apartheid state. At the heart of the book lie the life histories of these women themselves, who in interviews construct themselves as decisive actors in South Africa’s liberation struggle.
Composer and Woman of Letters in Nineteenth-Century America
Augusta Browne Garrett (ca. 1820-82) was one of the professional women musicians most active in publishing sheet music in nineteenth-century America. Her lively songs and piano solos, prose, and music journalism present an engaging period voice neglected for too long. Browne wrote herself into history through contributions to newspapers and magazines, many of them overlooked by scholars before now. The life and times of this versatile woman of music and letters illuminate her achievements within the contexts of the music business and the gendered culture of her era.
Thoughts on Music
The impact of Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) on twentieth-century music was vast: as pedagogue, composer, keyboardist, conductor, and impresario. Her extensive musical networks included figures such as Fauré, Stravinsky and Poulenc, and her advocacy helped establish the compositions of her sister Lili Boulanger.
Boulanger wrote numerous essays and reviews throughout her career. Nadia Boulanger: Thoughts on Music presents the most important of these little-known texts, providing unparalleled insight into her thinking and illuminating aspects of musical culture in Europe and America from the point of view (unusual in that day) of a woman working in the performing arts at the highest level.
Medieval women were normally denied access to public educational institutions, and so also denied the gateways to most leadership positions. Modern scholars have therefore naturally tended to study learned women either as anomalies, and more generally as victims. This volume argues instead for a via media. Drawing upon manuscript and archival sources, and reaching further afield for more multidisciplinary methods, scholars here show that more medieval women attained some form of learning than hitherto imagined, and that women with such legal, social or ecclesiastical knowledge also wielded professional or communal leadership.
German Women Authors and the Literary Sphere, 1750-1850
Beginning in the 1770s, the German literary market experienced unprecedented growth. The enormous demand for reading materials that stimulated this burgeoning market created new opportunities for women writers. At the same time, they still faced numerous obstacles. The new opportunities and limitations imposed on women writers are the subject of this book. The contributors bring to life the collaborative literary world of female writers through explorations of familial and professional mentorships, salons, and writing circles, and consider how women writers positioned themselves within the emerging literary marketplace.