Radical Reformers and Respectable Rebels: How the Two Lives of Grace Oakeshott Defined an Era

Author(s): Jocelyn Robson

NZ Biographies | Biography & Memoir | Feminism/Women's Studies

The fin de siecle was a time of social and cultural upheaval, with many women living more adventurous and defiant lives than their mothers would ever have dreamed possible. This is the true story of an Englishwoman who staged her own death and re-invented herself in the far colony of New Zealand, in the early 1900s. Grace Oakeshott's life is revealed through the reform movements of the period, including education for girls, ethical socialism, Victorian evangelicalism, and the changing nature of marriage. As a social activist, Grace rubbed shoulders with many notable figures, including William Morris, H. G. Wells, and Sydney and Beatrice Webb. Jocelyn Robson uses a rich collection of historical sources, including contemporary fiction and social commentary, archive documents and interviews with surviving family members. Through the lives of Grace and those close to her we discover what drove people to act in extraordinary (as well as ordinary) ways.


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Jocelyn Robson has worked as a researcher and teacher in further and higher education and has special interests in women's history and vocational training. Raised in New Zealand and living in London, she is now a fulltime writer.

Introduction Prologue PART I 1. Radicals in Suburbia 2. Learning Curves 3. Finding Their Own Way 4. 'Another Word for Suicide' 5. 'Fellowship is Heaven' PART II 6. Answering the Call 7. 'Not Much Home About It' 8. Behind Closed Doors 9. Girls in Trades 10. Medical Men PART III 11. A Place to Begin Again 12. 'Ignoble Motives' 13. The Politics of Knitting 14. Landfall 15. After Lives

General Fields

  • : 9781137311832
  • : Palgrave Macmillan
  • : Palgrave Macmillan
  • : February 2016
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Hardback
  • : 322.44094109034
  • : 256
  • : biography
  • : Jocelyn Robson