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8 March 2021
It's International Women's Day today so all week on the Post we shall have the five Persephone writers who, in our view, contributed most to women's freedom of expression. To explain: Dorothy Whipple may be our bestselling writer, and she was definitely a feminist (look at her quiet rage about the way Charlotte is treated by Geoffrey in They Were Sisters or her pride in Jane setting up shop in High Wages or her more resigned fury at Young Anne being treated differently from her brothers) but you would probably not choose her as a top five feminist 'influencer'. We would first of all choose Dorothy Canfield Fisher, named by Eleanor Roosevelt as one of the ten most influential women in America (at the time) and in her quiet way a profound thinker about the cause of women. This autumn we are publishing The Deepening Stream (1930) and there is a case to be made for Matey being the first modern heroine. She takes it for granted that she has a job and has children. But is also very happily married. And look at Evangeline in The Home-Maker. Leaving the house early to have her breakfast in a cafeteria before going to work. Because she prefers it. Because the children are perfectly happy (happier) with their father. And yet this was published nearly a hundred years ago!
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