Feminism is the insight that women are oppressed, and the struggle against that oppression. The Penguin Book of Feminist Writing is a global anthology of feminist writers, edited and introduced by a major new essay by Hannah Dawson. It brings together an unprecedented line-up of the movement. It unfurls the diverse and often contradictory ways in which women have written of their pain and exclusion, the strategies they have employed to fight back, and the joy, power, and sisterhood that they have won.
Beginning in the fifteenth century with Christine de Pizan, who imagined a City of Ladies that would serve as a refuge from the harassment of men, the book reaches around the whole earth and through history to us, now, splashing about in the fourth wave. It goes beyond the usual white, Western story, attentive also to class, capitalism and colonialism, and to the other axes of oppression that intersect with sexism. Alongside Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who declared in Seneca Falls in 1848 the self-evident truth 'that all men and women are created equal', we find Sojourner Truth, born into slavery in New York in 1797, who asked 'and ain't I a woman?' Drawing on poems, novels and memoirs, as well roaring manifestos, The Penguin Book of Feminist Writing parts the clouds on a vast constellation of feminist classics.