Your new book, Dreamers of a New Day, explores the period around the turn of the 20th century. What motivated you to write about this period?
The book has a very long history. When I was writing Century of Women I worked through the period and summarised different aspects of politics and work. But I had material that I wanted to explore in more detail that didn’t really fit into that very terse format.
I was originally very struck by the fact that women had ideas about not only changing women’s work but also changing production, so I got interested in that. Then I thought I can’t just talk about work because if you talk about work and women you have to think of other things to do with childcare and domestic work. So I began to extend into researching personal aspects of life to do with a sense of how these women wanted to be as women and their differing attitudes to sexuality.
Read the full interview here.
As the 21st century falters forward with faith wars and economic collapse, women need to be at the forefront of reimagining our world. This book is a timely reminder that we have been here before. – Jeanette Winterson, Times
Rowbotham has a marvellous gift for explication and an eye for the illuminating quotation… readers of this ambitious and eloquent book will agree with Rowbotham’s tough-minded conclusion: that in women’s ongoing effort to reconcile the personal and the political, “there is no automatic accretion of improvement”, but the need to reinvent utopia in every era. – Elaine Showalter, Daily Telegraph
Read the Daily Telegraph’s full article here.
Sheila Rowbotham is Professor of Gender and Labour History at the University of Manchester, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Her many books include, most recently, the James Tait Black–shortlisted Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love, Promise of a Dream: Remembering the Sixties and she introduces the forthcoming new volume in the Revolutions! series, Mary Wollstencraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. She has written for, among other newspapers, the Guardian, The Times, the Independent, the New Statesman, and the New York Times.