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The Making of Modern Woman


Lynn Abrams has pulled off a remarkable feat - she has written a history of European women in the 'long nineteenth century' that is wide-ranging, informative, well argued and extremely readable. This is a convincing synthesis of a vast body of recent research in this exciting and significant area of history, one that has found its way into too few general surveys of the period.

Richard Evans, University of Cambridge


The Making of Modern Woman: Europe 1789-1918 is a wide-ranging and exciting book. Covering a period of enormous significance for women, Lynn Abrams moves deftly from women's experiences of private life into more publicly scrutinised areas. This is a book written not only with historiographical sophistication but with great lucidity and passion.

Eileen Yeo, University of Strathclyde


A considerable feat of synthesis, which surveys in remarkable and telling detail the social, political and cultural histories, which shaped womens changing sense of self. This is a challenging new study, the most up-to-date available in English, which will be invaluable to anyone, teacher, student, or general reader, who wants to understand the balance between continuity and change in the gender relations of modern Europe.

Jane Rendall, University of York

This is a bold and ambitious synthesis of the history of European women in the

period 1789-1918. Rightly dismissive of the idea that women had only a walk-on

part to play in theunfolding of Europe's destiny, Abrams succeeds in

integrating them into the grand narratives of European history.

James McMillan, University of Edinburgh

Modern woman was made between the French Revolution and the end of the First World War. In this time, the women of Europe crafted new ideas about their sexuality, motherhood, the home, the politics of femininity, and their working roles. They faced challenges about what a woman should be and how she should act. From domestic ideology to women's suffrage, this book charts the contests for woman's identity in the epoch-shaping nineteenth century.

Nineteenth-century woman is illuminated in all her guises as mother, wife, lover, revolutionary, coloniser, worker and feminist. Lynn Abrams shows how she took on every role from a protesting worker in Barcelona, to campaigning nationalist in Poland, to Christian missionary in India. The author follows her as she faces the "male" century par excellence dominated by the history of revolutions, nationalism, imperial expansion, labour protest and world war. Structured round European history's grand narrative, these key themes are re-evaluated from woman's perspective. Enriched with accounts of individual women and their experiences of war, work, love and politics, this is an accessible and engaging read which re-positions woman from her traditional role as cheerleader to central actor in European history.

Lynn Abrams is Senior Lecturer in History, University of Glasgow.

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About the Author

Lynn Abrams is Lecturer in History at the University of Glasgow.


'a convincing synthesis of a vast body of recent research in this exciting and significant area of history'Richard J Evans, University of Cambridge 'an excellent introduction to the subject of women's lives in Europe's long nineteenth century' Kelly Boyd, Middlesex University " This text is set to become the classic survey in its field". June Purvis, Professor of Women's and gender history, University of Portsmouth

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