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Monday, 25 October 2010

Dora Marsden

In 1911 Dora Marsden and Mary Gawthorpe established the feminist journal, The Freewoman. The journal caused a storm when it advocated free love and encouraged women not to get married. The journal also included articles that suggested communal childcare and co-operative housekeeping. Marsden also attacked the WSPU's strategy of employing militant tactics.
Mary Gawthorpe had suffered severe internal injuries after being beaten up by stewards at a meeting. She was also imprisoned several times and hunger strikes and force-feeding badly damaged her health and in May 1912, she was unable to continue working as co-editor of The Freewoman. Marsden continued publishing the magazine on her own but the original backer withdrew after it was banned by W. H. Smith for immorality.

Harriet Shaw Weaver agreed to give the magazine financial support and it was re-launched as the The New Freewoman. In the June 1913 edition Marsden wrote: "The New Freewoman is not for the advancement of Women, but for the empowering of individuals - men and women." Elizabeth Crawford pointed out that "Marsden... continued her attack on the Pankhursts, using the death of Emily Wilding Davison to highlight her conviction that they were prepared to make use of dedicated individuals, who otherwise were considered as trouble-makers, only when it suited them."

Rebecca West now became involved in publishing the magazine and in 1914 it was renamed The Egoist. Soon afterwards Marsden resigned as editor and decided to concentrate on writing books. However, The Definition of the Godhead, did not appear until 1928. This was followed by The Mysteries of Christianity in 1930.

In later life Marsden suffered from severe psychotic depression, was a patient at the Crichton Royal Hospital in Dumfries. Her fees were paid by Harriet Shaw Weaver.


http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WmarsdenD.htm

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