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Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy and the Victorian Feminist MovementThe Biography of an Insurgent Woman$
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Maureen Wright

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780719081095

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719081095.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy and the Victorian Feminist Movement

Maureen Wright

Manchester University Press

This chapter reviews the reasons for presenting a chronological biography of Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy, as opposed to a thematic or theoretical interpretation of her ideals. It also provides a brief assessment of current historiography relating to Wolstenholme Elmy. The development of Wolstenholme Elmy's feminism is then addressed. She was deeply appreciative of her transatlantic friendships. The object of this biography is to argue that Wolstenholme Elmy was foremost among the Radical suffragists of her generation and to interpret that radicalism as a force for change. Her life shows that there is no simple dichotomy between the suffragist and the suffragette. She did not consider her own sex ‘superior’, but equal, and her unshakeable belief in this equality demanded of her, from her twenties, that she live a public life. Finally, an overview of the chapters included in this book is shown.

Keywords:   Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy, feminism, chronological biography, radicalism, Radical suffragists, suffragette, historiography

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