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“Liberation Impasse”—Bookforum reviews Sheila Rowbotham's Dreamers of a New Day

Clara Heyworth31 May 2010

In an article for Bookforum entitled "Liberation Impasse: Taking ambivalent measure of the legacy of modern feminism," Kerry Howley discusses Sheila Rowbotham's Dreamers of a New Day alongside What Women Want and Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, hailing Rowbotham's latest offering as "a revelatory new history."

It may sound like a small thing to acknowledge that women at the turn of the century differed in their visions of utopia, but the fierce individualism of the women Rowbotham profiles here is something most chroniclers would push aside for the sake of narrative simplicity. It's this resistance to conventional storytelling that makes Dreamers so moving, the willingness to present a pastiche of quotations from pamphlets and letters and novels, to reveal the messy process of reinvention rather than merely reporting its conclusion. Instead of stern teleology, we get sporting play."

Visit Bookforum to read the article in full.

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