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In the feminist Pantheon John Stuart Mill and William Thompson have always featured high, somewhat screening the constellation of progressive literati, men of thought, letters and action who also vindicated and promoted women’s rights. It is the purpose of this book that these men’s voices can be heard. Male voices on women’s rights brings together a unique collection of original nineteenth-century texts, mixing seminal, little-known, or forgotten writings ranging from 1809 to 1913. It comes as a timely complement to the rare scholarly studies undertaken in recent years on men’s roles in the history of feminism, and will be welcomed by anyone interested in its intellectual sources.

The documents, drawn from diaries, essays, parliamentary speeches, pamphlets, newspaper articles, or sermons, testify to the part played by the radical tradition, liberal political culture, religious dissent, and economic criticism in the development of women’s politics in nineteenth–century Britain. They also give some useful insight in the (often emotional) tensions, contradictions, or ambiguities of positions provoked by shifting patterns of masculinity and re-definitions of femininity, and will help revise common assumptions and misconceptions regarding male attitudes to sex equality. This text collection provides more than just source reading: Its substantial historical introduction adds value to the interpretative framework preceding all selected extracts, thus rendered immediately exploitable by students and teachers alike.