Monday, December 26, 2011
Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History
Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Sometime in the mid-90's, somebody noticed a sentence in a scholarly article on Puritan funeral sermons by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. It read, "Well-behaved women seldom make history." The sentence got onto a t-shirt, and from there became a popular feminist bumper-sticker slogan. Ulrich was bemused by the sudden fame of her sentence, and this book is something of a response to it. She tells the story of the sentence and from there, launches into a discussion of women in history, well-behaved or otherwise.
Ulrich uses 3 particular women as her focus: the medieval French writer Christine de Pisan, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Virginia Woolf. But they are just the platform from which we can learn about all sorts of women throughout history. I enjoyed the structure of the book, which meanders all over the place, but always in a way that makes sense. The whole thing was just great. Put this one on your shelf!