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[WHEELER, Anna, &] THOMPSON, William.

Appeal of One Half the Human Race, Women, Against the Pretensions of the Other Half, Men,

to Retain them in Political, and Thence Civil and Domestic, Slavery; in Reply to a Paragraph of Mr. Mill's Celebrated "Article on Government".

London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, and Wheatley and Adlard, 1825 Stock Code: 102519
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"One of the classics of early nineteenth-century feminist literature"

First edition of one of the most important works in the history of feminism and "one of the classics of early nineteenth-century feminist literature" (ODNB). "No book published before his time on this subject, even the famous work of Mary Wollstonecraft, is at once so broad and comprehensive and so direct and practical as Thompson's Appeal" (Richard K. P. Pankhurst, William Thompson: Britain's Pioneer Socialist, Feminist, and Co-operator, 1954). Not until John Stuart Mill's Subjection of Women (1869) was the argument again stated with such force.

William Thompson (1775-1833), socialist and economist, was born into an Irish ascendancy family in Cork. His Introductory Letter is addressed to his silent collaborator, the philosopher Anna Wheeler (1785?-1848), a rebel from the Anglo-Irish gentry. "I long hesitated to arrange our common ideas", writes Thompson, "anxious that the hand of a woman should have the honour of raising from the dust that neglected banner which a woman's hand i.e., Wollstonecraft's nearly thirty years ago unfolded boldly, in face of the prejudices of thousands of years, and for which a woman's heart bled, and her life was all but the sacrifice - I hesitated to write".

Their work was provoked by James Mill's dismissal of political rights for women in his famous Article on Government. Mill argued that almost all women were represented adequately in political matters by their fathers or husbands, and that it was therefore quite unnecessary for them to enjoy formal political rights. This statement by one of the leading Benthamites - "among the Utilitarians... second only to Bentham himself" - alarmed and horrified Thompson and Wheeler.

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Octavo (217 x 135 mm). Original drab green boards, neatly rebacked preserving the original drab brown diaper-grain cloth spine and original printed paper label.


Expertly refurbished, with a couple of small chips to extremities, some surface wear to boards, spine label worn affecting the first two and final letters of "WOMEN", library shelfmark at foot of spine, title leaf skilfully repaired along top edge and gutter, a few leaves roughly opened incurring some uneven edges, the loss not affecting text (such as B5 & B6), contents browned with some scattered foxing and marginal dampstain. Overall a very good copy.


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