Well-behaved women seldom make history

English language

Published Jan. 24, 2007 by Alfred A. Knopf.

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"They didn't ask to be remembered," Pulitzer Prize-winning author Laurel Ulrich wrote in 1976 about the pious women of colonial New England. And then she added a phrase that has since gained widespread currency: "Well-behaved women seldom make history." Today those words appear almost everywhere--on T-shirts, mugs, bumper stickers, plaques, greeting cards, and more. But what do they really mean? In this engrossing volume, Laurel Ulrich goes far beyond the slogan she inadvertently created and explores what it means to make history.Her volume ranges over centuries and cultures, from the fifteenth-century writer Christine de Pizan, who imagined a world in which women achieved power and influence, to the writings of nineteenth-century suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton and twentieth-century novelist Virginia Woolf. Ulrich updates de Pizan's Amazons with stories about women warriors from other times and places. She contrasts Woolf's imagined story about Shakespeare's sister with biographies of actual women who were …

6 editions


  • Christine, -- de Pisan, -- ca. 1364-ca. 1431
  • Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, -- 1815-1902
  • Woolf, Virginia, -- 1882-1941
  • Women -- History
  • Women in literature
  • Feminism