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The Headswoman

Kenneth Grahame

Book Overview: 

It was a bland, sunny morning of a mediaeval May, -an old-style May of the most typical quality; and the Council of the little town of St. Radegonde were assembled, as was their wont at that hour, in the picturesque upper chamber of the Hotel de Ville, for the dispatch of the usual municipal business. Though the date was early sixteenth century, the members of this particular town-council possessed considerable resemblance to those of similar assemblies in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and even the nineteenth centuries, in a general absence of any characteristic at all-unless a pervading hopeless insignificance can be considered as such

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .You are doubtless also aware that the office is hereditary, being secured to a particular family in this town, so long as any one of its members is ready and willing to take it up. The deed lies before me, and appears to be—er—quite in order. It is true that on this occasion the Council might have been called upon to consider and examine the title of the claimant, the late lamented official having only left a daughter,—she who now stands before you; but I am happy to say that Jeanne—the young lady in question—with what I am bound to call great good-feeling [p 4] on her part, has saved us all trouble in that respect, by formally applying for the family post, with all its—er—duties, privileges, and emoluments; and her application appears to be—er—quite in order. There is, therefore, under the circumstances, nothing left for us to do but to declare the said applicant duly elected. I would wish, however, before I. . . Read More

Community Reviews

It was cute. It tickled my inner raging feminist.


Townspeople from France in "days of yore'' verbally joust in oddly rich, Raffles-like English.
This short, feminist tale could have happily stood to have been fleshed-out at three or four times it's published length.An altogether nice, witty world to spend time in.
The ending is a bit naff and comes a

A strange little book, but well written and I enjoyed it. Not Grahame's usual style

What a gem of a story! Beautifully illustrated, too, by Marcia Lane Foster with pseudo-primitive German woodcuts. I for one couldn't resist this sly feminist fable in which the girl gets the job (town executioner) and her man.

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Café Littéraire

Siamo all'inizio del XVI secolo, e in un mite mattino di un lontano maggio, nel piccolo villaggio di Saint Radegonde, nel sud della Francia, si sta tenendo, come avviene di consueto, una riunione cittadina, ma ciò che gli abitanti sentiranno proclamare dal l

Un racconto ironico e irriverente che, in modo bizzarro e originale, affronta un tema importante quale la parità di diritti tra uomo e donna. Protagonista una giovane che si aspetta di succedere al padre nel lavoro di tagliateste, come d'altronde le spetterebbe di diritto. Ma purtroppo gli eventi di

She was a little touchy on this subject, the word she most affected to despise being also the one she most dreaded,—the adjective “unladylike.”

An odd little tale about the power a woman can wield (provided she is given some weapons and the means to do so, of course).

Grahame, best known for The Wind in the Willows, wrote quite a bit more that is worth reading, including this short comic story.

Feeling very timely for all that it was a product of the late 19th century, The Headswoman is a satire of "U GO GIRL" fiction. Jeanne, after an impassioned speech ("Shall I

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