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Review: Walter Besant's The Revolt of Man (1882)

- detailed bibliographic notes coming Summer 2002 -- lq

Walter Besant. The Revolt of Man.
William Blackwood and Sons: Edinburgh and London, MDCCCLXXXII (1882)

358 pp.

Chapter I. In Parklane. (pp. 1-32)

We are introduced to Dorothy Ingleby. "This wrinkled face, this frail form, belonged to the foremost intellect of England : the lady was none other than Dorothy Ingleby, Professor of Ancient and Modern History in the University of Cambridge." She is in her library, surrounded by portraits described as painted very poorly.

The history of the current theocracy [p. 3]:
"As girls at school, everybody had learned about the Great Transition, and the way in which the Transfer of Power, which marked the last and greatest step of civilisation, had been brought about : the gradual substitution of women for men in the great offices ; the spread of the new religion ; the abolition of the monarchy ; the introduction of pure theocracy, in which the ideal Perfect Woman took the place of a perfect sovereign ; the wise measures by which man's rough and rude strength was disciplined into obedience,--- all these things were mere commonplaces of education. Even men, who learned little enough, were taught that in the old days strength was regarded more than mind, while the father actually ruled in the [p. 4] place which should have been occupied by the mother ; these things belonged to constitutional history---nobody cared much about them ; while, on the other hand, they would have liked to know--- the more curious among them--- what was the kind of world which existed before the development of culture gave the reins to the higher sex ; and it was well known that the only person at all capable of presenting a faithful restoration of the old world was Professor Ingleby."

Of Ingleby: "a woman who, alone among women, held her tongue ... "

Constance, Lady ........, shows up; she has just resigned her post in Parliament after a contentious debate because she argued for the education of men. There's discussion of Parliament being a disgrace; the women crying and arguing and insulting one another. The House of Peeresses is the only house of Parliament. Various sexist asides about talkative women, men who really do the management of the farms, etc. Wife beating is illegal -- implied the laws are unjust, too strict.

Chapter II. The Earl of Chester. (pp. 33-55)

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