Eleanor Marx: A Life

Eleanor Marx: A Life

by Rachel Holmes


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Unrestrained by convention, lion-hearted and free, Eleanor Marx (1855-98) was an exceptional woman. Hers was the first English translation of Flaubert's Mme Bovary. She pioneered the theatre of Henrik Ibsen. She was the first woman to lead the British dock workers' and gas workers' trades unions. For years she worked tirelessly for her father, Karl Marx, as personal secretary and researcher. Later she edited many of his key political works, and laid the foundations for his biography. But foremost among her achievements was her pioneering feminism. For her, sexual equality was a necessary precondition for a just society.

Drawing strength from her family and their wide circle, including Friedrich Engels and Wilhelm Liebknecht, Eleanor Marx set out into the world to make a difference—her favorite motto: "Go ahead!" With her closest friends—among them, Olive Schreiner, Havelock Ellis, George Bernard Shaw, Will Thorne, and William Morris—she was at the epicenter of British socialism. She was also the only Marx to claim her Jewishness. But her life contained a deep sadness: she loved a faithless and dishonest man, the academic, actor, and would-be playwright Edward Aveling. Yet despite the unhappiness he brought her, Eleanor Marx never wavered in her political life, ceaselessly campaigning and organizing until her untimely end, which—with its letters, legacies, secrets, and hidden paternity—reads in part like a novel by Wilkie Collins, and in part like the modern tragedy it was.

Rachel Holmes has gone back to original sources to tell the story of the woman who did more than any other to transform British politics in the nineteenth century, who was unafraid to live her contradictions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781408852897
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 11/15/2016
Pages: 528
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Rachel Holmes is the author of The Secret Life of Dr James Barry and The Hottentot Venus: The Life and Death of Saartjie Baartman. She is co-editor, with Lisa Appignanesi and Susie Orbach, of Fifty Shades of Feminism and co-commissioning editor, with Josie Rourke and Chris Haydon, of Sixty-Six Books: Twenty-First Century Writers Speak to the King James Bible. She lives in Gloucestershire.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

1 Global Citizen 1

2 The Tussies 22

3 Hans Röckle's Toyshop 36

4 Book-worming 49

5 Abraham Lincoln's Adviser 63

6 Fenian Sister 80

7 The Communards 101

8 Dogberries 125

9 The Only Lady Candidate 138

10 A Line of Her Own 155

11 The Reading Room 180

12 Peculiar Views on Love, etc. 209

13 Proof Against Illusions 222

14 Educate, Agitate, Organise 228

15 Nora Helmer, Emma Bovary and 'The Woman Question' 249

16 Lady Liberty 268

17 Essentially English 290

18 Our Old Stoker! 313

19 Ibsenist Interlude 334

20 I Am a Jewess 343

21 'Oh! For a Balzac to paint it!' 359

22 The Den 381

23 The Boldest Pause 406

24 White Dress in Winter 425

Afterword 444

Notes 451

Bibliography of Eleanor Marx's Key Works 483

Bibliography 485

Acknowledgements 489

Index 491

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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"I can't fu<_>cking believe you all. We couldn't even hold this rebellion for ten fu<_>cking minutes. Thanks, Connor. Or was it Anarchy? Or Oak?" He sighs. "Yeah, look at the "traitor." The one who tried so hard for a camp that gave everyone a say in executive decisions, then was gone for two days, TWO DAYS, and lost his leadership position because of this stupid governmental system. Did any of the other camp leaders have any say in this? No. Seth took it all, he became the fu<_>cking dictator, and then set up this "oligarchy" system to cover it up. So yeah, come and mock the traitor. The traitor who was only trying to help you all the traitor who was doing what was best for his camp. Damn, you, Seth. Damn you to hell, and may your system burn to ash because of your foolishness. Meanwhile, I'm going to leave. Again. So farewell, Ethics. Farewell, The Republic (which, despite it's name, is an "oligarchy" of Seth's puppet aristocracy). And farewell, Camp Athens. My camp, my people, and my life. Sorry I couldn't save you from Seth's tyranny. I don't see how I could've overpowered such a stuck-up, Machiavellian pr<_>ick, but I tried for you."