Women’s Suffrage in Word, Image, Music, Stage and Screen : The Making of a Movement book cover
1st Edition

Women’s Suffrage in Word, Image, Music, Stage and Screen
The Making of a Movement

ISBN 9780367361983
Published July 14, 2021 by Routledge
324 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This collection of essays explores the myriad ways in which the women’s suffrage movement in Britain in the nineteenth century and twentieth century engaged with and was expressed through literature, art and craft, music, drama and cinema.

Uniquely, this anthology places developments in the constituent arts side by side, and in dialogue, rather than focusing on a single field in isolation. In so doing, it illustrates how creative endeavours in different artforms converged in support of women’s suffrage. Topics encompassed range from the artistic output of such household names as Sylvia Pankhurst and Ethel Smyth, to the recent feature film Suffragette. It also brings to light under-represented figures and neglected works related to the suffrage movement. A wide variety of material is explored, from poems, diaries and newspapers to posters, dress and artefacts to songs, opera, plays and film.

Published in the wake of the centenary of many women receiving the parliamentary vote in the UK, this book will appeal to scholars, undergraduate and graduate students, and members of the public interested in the broad areas of women’s history and the women’s suffrage movement, as well as across the arts disciplines.

Table of Contents

Foreword: The dawn is breaking...

Irene Cockroft

Chapter One: Women’s Suffrage and Cultural Representation: The making of a movement

Christopher Wiley and Lucy Ella Rose

Part I: Literature

Chapter Two: Sylvia Pankhurst: Poetry and Politics
Marion Wynne-Davies

Chapter Three: A Reliable Chronicler? Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence and the Pankhurst/Pethick-Lawrence split of 1912
Kathy Atherton

Chapter Four: Suffragette Prison Narratives: The Foreignisation of the Carceral Experience
Eleanor March

Chapter Five: The Scottish Suffragettes and the Press
Sarah Pedersen

Part II: The Visual Arts and Visual Identity

Chapter Six: Suffrage Identity: Declaring One’s Colours
Anne Anderson

Chapter Seven: Painting a Political Identity: Women and the House of Commons, c.1818–1834
Amy Galvin

Chapter Eight: Victorian Paintings Under Attack: The Earliest Act of Suffrage Iconoclasm (1913)
Gursimran Oberoi

Chapter Nine: The Art of Suffrage Propaganda: With particular reference to the work of Surrey artists
Elizabeth Crawford

Part III: Music

Chapter Ten: Ethel Smyth, Music and the Suffragette Movement: Reconsidering The Boatswain’s Mate as Feminist Opera
Christopher Wiley

Chapter Eleven: ‘It seemed to me my first duty to signify I was one of the fighters’: Ethel Smyth’s two years of suffrage activities and her suffrage music
Marleen Hoffmann

Chapter Twelve: The Image of The Suffragette in Vernon Lee’s Music and its Lovers
Kristin M. Franseen

Part IV: Stage and Screen

Chapter Thirteen: ‘Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, join the Suffrage Dance?’: Reframing Alice in Wonderland for Edwardian activists
Naomi Paxton

Chapter Fourteen: Radical Actors: The Women’s Social and Political Union’s Staging of the Suffrage Campaign
Brigitte Dale

Chapter Fifteen: Suffrage History on our Screens: The TV series Shoulder to Shoulder and the feature film Suffragette: Whose stories do they tell?
June Purvis

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Christopher Wiley is Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Surrey, UK. He is the author of many journal articles and book chapters, and the co-editor of volumes including Researching and Writing on Contemporary Art and Artists (2020), Transnational Perspectives on Artists’ Lives (2020), Writing About Contemporary Musicians (2021) and The Routledge Companion to Autoethnography and Self-Reflexivity in Music Studies (2021).

Lucy Ella Rose is Lecturer in Victorian Literature at the University of Surrey, UK. She is the author of the book Suffragist Artists in Partnership: Gender, Word and Image (2018), and her work focuses on neglected women in nineteenth-century creative partnerships. She presents and publishes on Victorian literature, art, culture and feminisms, and is currently working on feminist networks at the fin de siècle.


‘By placing suffrage’s aesthetic experiments in conversation in one volume, Women’s Suffrage in Word, Image, Music, Stage and Screen reveals the ways in which ideas crossed between various art forms. From treatments of fashion to the meaning of suffrage colours, from poster art to the architecture of gendered political spaces, the innovative chapters of this collection illuminate the variety of suffrage artistic experiment. This volume is essential reading for all interested in the intersection of aesthetics and political movements.’

Barbara Green, Professor of English and Concurrent Faculty in Gender Studies at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana


‘This magnificent new work on British women’s suffrage brings together the highly imaginative strategies deployed by women artists, musicians, playwrights, actresses to demand votes for women. These fifteen essays offer a fascinating wide-angle lens and close up images of the titanic struggle which achieved first instalment of the vote in 1918 and full female suffrage 1928. The extraordinary personal sacrifice and suffering of the women campaigners offer a poignant juxtaposition to the exquisitely designed banners, the marching bands and brilliantly stage-managed processions and protests which grabbed the attention of the politicians, the press and the public throughout the United Kingdom. This collection offers interesting new angles on the most important political struggle of the twentieth century.’

Diane Atkinson, Author of Rise Up, Women! The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes (Bloomsbury, 2018)