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Bessie Harrison Lee's Utopian vision of marriage and heredity

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-16, 01:59 authored by Jennifer Caligari
This article explores Bessie Harrison Lee's utopian vision as she articulated it throughout the 1880s and 1890s. Harrison Lee argued that a remodelling of the marital relationship would act as a catalyst for change that would positively benefit the wider social community. In her critique of relations between husbands and wives, Harrison Lee proposed a radical change to men's sexual prerogatives and the prevailing ideas about the meaning of marriage. Whilst Harrison Lee shared some ideas with radical thinkers of the time, she also developed her own version of a utopian world. This included continence in marriage, Christian faith and knowledge of self-improvement which she believed would allow sinful predispositions to dissipate, particularly the social evil, prostitution. Harrison Lee saw marriage as a site for changing power relationships and these ideas informed her career of incessant travelling, copious writing and public speaking on social reform.

History

Journal

Lilith: a feminist history journal

Volume

17/18

Pagination

41 - 53

Location

Victoria

ISSN

0813-8990

Language

English

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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