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Title: The feminism and political radicalism of Helen Taylor in Victorian Britain and Ireland
Author: Smith, Janet
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 5364
Awarding Body: London Metropolitan University
Current Institution: London Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis offers an examination of the feminism and political radicalism of Helen Taylor. Despite the growth of interest in the political and social campaigns of nineteenth century women, Helen Taylor has remained a marginal figure of historical enquiry, referenced mainly in terms of her relationships with her contemporary English feminists and step-father, John Stuart Mill. Divisions in the women’s suffrage movement have been blamed on her difficult personality with no examination that it was her socialist anti-imperial feminism which was at the heart of the antagonism. Her important contribution to Victorian social and political life has been largely ignored. The study will examine the significance of her work across a wide range of political and social organisations from 1876 onwards; namely the London School Board, the Irish question, land reform, the Social Democratic Federation, her attempt to become the first woman MP and her membership of the Moral Reform Union. This work will illustrate how the political ideology of her feminist mother Harriet Taylor and her step-father John Stuart Mill remained at the heart of Helen’s political throughout her public life. It will further consider how the organisations she joined were gendered and how she attempted to negotiate and contest this. It will ask why she was able to successfully resist the middle class ideal of separate spheres for men and women. Finally it offers further evidence to challenge the claim made by some historians that all British Victorian feminists were imperialist in nature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: 300 Social sciences ; 320 Political science ; 940 History of Europe