Women's Playwriting and the Women's Movement, 1890-1918  book cover
1st Edition

Women's Playwriting and the Women's Movement, 1890-1918

ISBN 9781138223295
Published June 2, 2019 by Routledge
144 Pages

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Book Description

The influence of the women’s movement has long been a scholarly priority in the study of British women’s drama of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but previous scholarship has largely clustered around two events: the New Woman in the 1890s and the suffrage campaign in the years before the First World War. Women’s Playwriting and the Women’s Movement, 18901918 is the first designated study of British women’s drama from a period of exceptional productivity and innovation for female playwrights.

Both the British theatre and women’s position within British society underwent fundamental changes in this period, and this book shows how female dramatists carefully negotiated their position in the heated debates about women’s rights that occurred at this time, while staking out a place for themselves in an evolving theatrical landscape. Farkas also identifies the women’s movement as a key influence on the development of female-authored drama between 1890 and 1918, but argues that scholarly prioritizing of the "radicalism" of work associated with the New Woman and the suffrage campaign has had a distorting effect in the past.

Ideal for scholars of British and Victorian theatre, Women’s Playwriting and the Women’s Movement, 18901918 offers a new perspective which emphasizes the complexity of women playwrights’ engagement with first-wave feminism and links it to the diversification of the British theatre in this period.

Table of Contents



  1. The Female Playwright in the 1890s
  2. The New Woman on the Stage
  3. Ingénues, Wives, and Mothers: Women’s Drama in the West End
  4. The Orthodox Roots of Suffrage Theatre
  5. A New Heroine for a New Century: Women’s Drama and the Modernist Theatre




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Anna Farkas is Assistant Professor of English Literature at Regensburg University, Germany. She is co-editor of Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Aging in Nineteenth-Century Culture (2013). Her research interests are in British drama of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, women’s writing, and law and literature.