New Woman novelists

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Talia Schaffer (Queens College, CUNY)
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The New Woman movement was a social and a literary phenomenon during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. It became a cause célèbre in the popular press, rendering it difficult to know how many women were actually involved in it, but its fame meant that it exerted an influence perhaps out of all proportion to its real size. It is generally considered the predecessor to the suffrage movement. New Women were middle-class women who agitated for changes in etiquette: an end to chaperones, long hair, and long skirts. They wanted extended professional opportunities: employment and independent accommodations and transportation. Finally, they insisted upon a code of absolute honesty in sexual matters: information about venereal disease, and alternatives to marriage. They fought for…

2116 words

Citation: Schaffer, Talia. "New Woman novelists". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 January 2002 [, accessed 04 December 2023.]

3 New Woman novelists 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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