‘People Talk a Lot of Nonsense about Heredity’: Mona Caird and Anti-Eugenic Feminism
In the words of the late nineteenth-century poet Elizabeth Sharp, Mona Caird’s opinions, though they were ‘met with acute hostility at the time, contributed a great deal to “altering the attitude of the public mind in its approach to and examination of [the woman question].”’3 Sharp dedicated her anthology of Victorian Women Poets to Caird, designating her ‘the most loyal and devoted advocate of the cause of woman’.4 I shall demonstrate in this essay the extent to which Caird exposed and opposed the repressive ideas which lay beneath the apparently emancipatory rhetoric of many of her feminist contemporaries.
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