1st Edition

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

Edited By Christopher Wiley, Lucy Ella Rose Copyright 2021
    324 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    324 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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.

    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


    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)