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A Dirty, Filthy Book : Sex, Scandal, and One Woman's Fight in the Victorian Trial of the Century - Michael Meyer

A Dirty, Filthy Book

Sex, Scandal, and One Woman's Fight in the Victorian Trial of the Century

By: Michael Meyer

Hardcover | 8 February 2024

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An empowering and gripping story of a pioneer of women's rights written by a critically-acclaimed writer and historian, for fans of Hallie Rubenhold, Hermione Lee and prize-winning Victorian histories.

London, 1877. A petite young woman stands before an all-male jury, about to risk everything. She takes a breath, and opens her defence.

Annie Besant and her confidant Charles Bradlaugh are on trial for the unforgivable crime of publishing and selling a birth control pamphlet. Defending herself - 45 years before the first woman was called to the English Bar - before Britain's highest judge on the charge of obscenity, Annie argued that it was a woman's right to be able to choose when to have children. At a time when women were expected to be obedient and in the home, Annie's fearless voice was a sensation. Catapulting her into the public eye, the riveting trial scandalised newspapers, captivated the British public and held a spotlight to ideas about sex, censorship and morality.

Drawing on unpublished archives, private papers and court-room transcripts - and featuring an incredible cast including Queen Victoria, George Bernard Shaw, Charles Darwin, match girls, and Big Ben's prison room - A Dirty, Filthy Book tells the gripping story of a little-known pioneer who refused to accept the role that the establishment assigned her, and chose instead to resist.

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