May 2, 2014
This collection of literary/historical essays, written 1970-2010, covers political subjects as diverse as 17th Century Quaker persecution history, the social impact of Malthus, the self-emancipation of English women, Eleanor Rathbone on the human rights of girls and German women’s resistance to Hitler. The more literary subjects include the social thinking of the English Romantics, Dickens’ Great Expectations, Simone Weil’s great essays attacking militarism and Virginia Woolf’s opposition to the State — as well as contemporary American women poets on the problem of war. But despite all its diversity, this collection has one unifying theme — the necessity for resistance, for ‘thinking against the current’, as Virginia Woolf wrote in ‘Thoughts on Peace in an Air-raid’. The torch of resistance to oppression and militarism is shown to have been continuously handed on through the generations from the seventeenth century to our own day by men and women who had the courage, at whatever personal cost, to ‘fight with the mind’. This book of passionate, lively essays is not merely a treasure trove for biographical researchers; it is also strengthening medicine, introducing us to unfamiliar forebears who can help us in our current struggle for a better world. As Simone Weil said: “We can find something better than ourselves in the past”.
Sussex Academic Press (UK) – published September 2013
Author: Sybil Oldfield
We are delighted to announce that Lincoln Green will be reviewing this text at the Central.