Votes for women

My latest read is Pennskaftet by Elin Wägner, a novel about the Swedish suffragette movement, written by one of the actual key suffragettes. First published in 1910 the novel was written as the fight for equal voting rights was still being fought. It would take until 1919 before Swedish women got the full right to vote, and until 1921 before the first election in which they could use it. This of course makes the novel particularly interesting to read as a time document. Although fictionalized it gives an interesting insider view into the movement. Also interesting were the portraits of some of the different types of women drawn to the movement, often from the growing group of educated self-supporting women.

The novel is occasionally distracted by arguing the cause, but it still works well as a novel. The focus is clearly on the movement but it included some excellent portrayals of women friendship and a sweet romance, which gave it balance. It also has some for the time rather daring opinions on sexual morals, which I found uplifting. All in all I really enjoyed it. It has been published in English as Penwoman.

9 thoughts on “Votes for women

    1. It was interesting, and I actually got around to reading it thanks to your reading independent publisher challenge. Only I found out that although the publisher, Atlantis, is independent, their Swedish classics series is something they publish for the Swedish Academy (same one who grants the Nobel prizes), so I didn’t think it really counted. And I needed to post something in January anyway 🙂

      I liked Wilkinson’s crime novel, so I hope to eventually get around to Clash too.

      Like

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