A Woman in History: Eileen Power, 1889-1940

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Eileen Power was the best-known medieval historian of the interwar years, and wrote one of the classic medieval histories, Medieval people. An active participant in the campaign for women's suffrage, she became one of the first writers and teachers of women's history. She made her career as lecturer and then as professor at the London School of Economics and, together with R. H. Tawney, turned a frontier subject, economic and social history, into a prominent part of the historical disciplines. She defined her subject as comparative and international in her passionate engagement with the forces of nationalism and militarism. Her major works on trade, merchants and comparative economic history were conveyed in writing that was individual and human, rich in narrative and ranging widely over time and place. In her evangelism for the subject on the lecture platform, on the radio, through the press and in the school book, she made her subject glamorous, and her history became compelling reading and listening for a whole generation. Yet when she died prematurely at the age of fifty-one, her legacy to history was lost, and now we have largely forgotten her and the passions that drove her to write history. By narrating the life story of this woman who combined scholarship with personality to make an academic career against the odds, Maxine Berg refocuses our attention on Eileen Power as one of the first and most remarkable 'women in history'.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Readers who are interested in women in the historical profession, in the emergence of economic history as an important field of study, or in the history of higher education in the UK should find this book of value." Choice

"This is a fine biography of Eileen Power....Berg's book is extremely valuable as a model of analysis of the world of academic scholarship and it is also a lively, engrossing biography of an important figure. It should help to stimulate more research not only on Power herself, but on women academics, feminism and gender in the interwar period. Deborah Gorham, Canadian Journal of History

"With this superb biographical study of Eileen Power, Maxine Berg, herself a well-known British economic and intellectual historian, has a filled a major gap in the historiography of British economic history....Fututr studies...should use Berg's study as a model, for she has not only rescued Eileen Power's legacy but has given us the best study of a historian of the period." Gerald M. Koot, Albion

"Maxine Berg has composed a lively and readable biography of Eileen Power..." Susan Mosher Stuard, Journal of Economic History

"...graciously calling to memory the life and work of Eileen Power, Berg gives us a biography that is absorbing as social commentary..." Elaine Clark, Jrnl of Modern History

"Berg has left us with a rich biography of someone one would like to have known and wish had lived longer. Power's glamour, fun, and intellectual brilliance make for wonderful reading, and we should be grateful to Berg for providing a balanced biography." Barbara A. Hanawalt, Speculum

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521402781
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2012
  • Pages: 310
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. Family and friends; 3. Becoming a historian - Paris, London and Cambridge 1910–20; 4. Travelling east; 5. Women, peace and medieval people; 6. The LSE, economic history and the social sciences 1921–40; 7. Love, marriage and careers; 8. Eileen Power's medieval history; 9. World history and the end of the world; 10. Clio, a muse; Bibliography.

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