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The Beth Book by Sarah Grand first edition 1898

The Beth Book by Sarah Grand first edition 1898


London: William Heinemann, 1898


8vo., original olive-green cloth, blocked in gilt with title and floral motif to upper board, and lettered along spine; outer edge untrimmed; pp. [ix], 2-527, [xli]; boards a little worn, particularly to the edge of the cloth; sunned along spine, which is also creased; a little shaky in the binding, which is cracked to gutter, some pages a little loose, but holding; for the most part very clean, internally, save for a previous owner’s name in ink to title, who has also dashed through the page; occasionally light staining and marking, more so to the first and last few pages; the odd corner crease. 


First edition, with the lengthy publisher’s catalogue intact to rear. 


An interesting example of early 19th century feminist literature. Sarah Grand is the pseudonym for Frances Clarke, the novelist and women’s rights campaigner who published a series of books on the theme of women’s suffrage and who went on to become President for the Union of Women’s Suffrage in Tunbridge Wells. Born in Ireland, she entered an unhappy marriage with an army surgeon before leaving to pursue a career in writing. She found success with The Heavenly Twins where, inspired by Josephine Butler’s campaign against the contagious diseases act, she explored how the act of men passing syphilis to their families restricted the lives of women. The Beth Book is a semi-autobiographical novel, in which she describes with bitterness her difficult upbringing - she often had to go without in order to support the lifestyles of her male siblings. 


No. 20 on the Virago Modern Classics list. 

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