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Spectacular Confessions: Autobiography, Performative Activism, and the Sites of Suffrage, 1905-1938 (review)

Spectacular Confessions: Autobiography, Performative Activism, and the Sites of Suffrage,... Reviews 389 Barbara Green. Spectacular Confessions: Autobiography, Performative Activ- ism, and the Sites of Suffrage, 1905–1938. New York: St. Martin’s, 1997. 232 pp. ISBN 0-312-17267-2, $45.00. The Spectacular Confessions of Barbara Green’s title comprise a varied lot of autobiographies and less formal first-person writings generated by Britain’s suffrage activists, both during their movement’s militant and spectacular era between 1905 and 1914, and later, looking back on those years. Whether a novel or a private letter, the texts of interest to Green offer images of protest created within the context of women’s campaigns to gain the vote, and they rely, she insists, on the persuasive force of the female body when thrust into the public sphere. As political gestures, these writings infused public debate about women’s status with language and imagery derived from the person- al experience of resistance—or in Green’s construction, they “were intend- ed to make the feminist body visible” (5). Political or collective by inten- tion, the “spectacular confessions” are less interesting to Green as windows on individuals, than as tools in the formation of a social movement (17). Green admits to a contemporary purpose (or two) in her consideration of this body of literature about suffragists’ http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biography University of Hawai'I Press

Spectacular Confessions: Autobiography, Performative Activism, and the Sites of Suffrage, 1905-1938 (review)

Biography , Volume 23 (2) – Mar 1, 2001

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 Biographical Research Center.
ISSN
0162-4962
eISSN
1529-1456

Abstract

Reviews 389 Barbara Green. Spectacular Confessions: Autobiography, Performative Activ- ism, and the Sites of Suffrage, 1905–1938. New York: St. Martin’s, 1997. 232 pp. ISBN 0-312-17267-2, $45.00. The Spectacular Confessions of Barbara Green’s title comprise a varied lot of autobiographies and less formal first-person writings generated by Britain’s suffrage activists, both during their movement’s militant and spectacular era between 1905 and 1914, and later, looking back on those years. Whether a novel or a private letter, the texts of interest to Green offer images of protest created within the context of women’s campaigns to gain the vote, and they rely, she insists, on the persuasive force of the female body when thrust into the public sphere. As political gestures, these writings infused public debate about women’s status with language and imagery derived from the person- al experience of resistance—or in Green’s construction, they “were intend- ed to make the feminist body visible” (5). Political or collective by inten- tion, the “spectacular confessions” are less interesting to Green as windows on individuals, than as tools in the formation of a social movement (17). Green admits to a contemporary purpose (or two) in her consideration of this body of literature about suffragists’

Journal

BiographyUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Mar 1, 2001

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