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The Woman Who Did

Grant Allen

Book Overview: 

Most times, especially in the time when this book was written, it is just as nature and society would wish: a man and woman “fall in love” and get married. But it is not so for Herminia Barton and Alan Merrick. They do indeed fall in love, but Herminia has a deeply held belief in freedom for women, and she holds immutable views against what she perceives as the slavery of marriage.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I do sympathize with you. But give me, at least, till to-morrow to think this thing over. It is a momentous question; don't let us be precipitate."

Herminia drew a long breath. His embrace thrilled through her. "As you will," she answered with a woman's meekness. "But remember, Alan, what I say I mean; on these terms it shall be, and upon none others. Brave women before me have tried for awhile to act on their own responsibility, for the good of their sex; but never of their own free will from the very beginning. They have avoided marriage, not because they thought it a shame and a surrender, a treason to their sex, a base yielding to the unjust pretensions of men, but because there existed at the time some obstacle in their way in the shape of the vested interest of some other woman. When Mary Godwin chose to mate herself with Shelley, she took her good name in her hands; but still there was Harriet. As soon as Harriet was dead, Mary showed she had . . . Read More

Community Reviews

This is more a pamphlet than a novel. It is mostly interesting for its politics: The heroine enters into a relationship outside marriage because for her, marriage and feminism can never work together. From a nowadays point of view, the plot is more than banal, but the interesting aspects about the t

The main impression I have as I read The Woman Who Did is the imposition of a male writer upon the supposed thinking and development of a woman’s thoughts and philosophy. In particular it conjures for me, a memory of a teacher who I would have to say was selfish in setting an essay topic on why peop

It's a definite period piece, by which I mean a piece of its period. The period in question has lots and lots of moralizing dialogue. This one has about that much more again of it. It's an interesting effort, but it's ultimately as sad a failure as the experiment it outlines.

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