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To ask other readers questions about Woman and Labour , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Apr 05, Nathan "N. Ever see a book on gr with more editions than ratings? Get to it, right? I knew nothing of Schreiner, and judging by the small amount of reviews on her books, few do. As another reviewer of this said, she would probably be upset to see how little we have progressed she believed that when women's voices were heard in public and in government forums, war would be permanently ended.
I guess in the early 19th century it was less obvious of the nefarious forces my boss has a copy of this at the shop, edit: I guess in the early 19th century it was less obvious of the nefarious forces at work in international politics, and although we still have a highly disproportionate male-to-female ratio of acting politicians, I have a feeling that the real powers-to-be are beyond the morality of woman. Just look at the crone who is running the Federal Reserve right now.
For reasons like this, it does read as a bit dated, but in all honesty most of her points remain poignantly valid in our day, from one perspective or another. About halfway through, but I can already recommend this to anyone interested in early civil rights contrary to popular belief, that's not just a racial term. Her perspective is made even more interesting in that she is a white woman from South America, and was held by native forces for a while during the Boer War. Oct 29, Rachel rated it liked it Shelves: Makes a lot of sense. Bet she'd be disappointed we haven't come further in the last years.
Stilian rated it liked it May 23, Willie Ha rated it did not like it Jan 03, Dani Alexis rated it really liked it Feb 14, James rated it liked it Apr 12, Tammy rated it liked it Feb 12, Juliana Bjornsdottir rated it it was amazing Feb 20, Sally rated it really liked it Jan 09, Veronica rated it really liked it Jan 23, Karen rated it liked it Jul 27, Lauren rated it it was ok Feb 18, Sophie rated it really liked it Apr 24, Rowan rated it it was amazing Jul 04, Carrie rated it it was amazing Jan 19, Rebekah rated it liked it Feb 11, Stephen rated it liked it Jan 04, Sahib Tulsi rated it really liked it Feb 07, Angela rated it really liked it Jun 14, Anthony rated it really liked it Apr 13, Sarah rated it liked it Jan 29, Lisa Redmond rated it liked it Jul 25, Bob Thompson rated it really liked it Jan 23, Proustitute rated it liked it Aug 03, Disha Acharya rated it it was amazing Feb 21, Arianne Rand marked it as to-read Feb 20, This disillusionment began with his support of the "strop bill" that would allow black and coloured servants to be flogged for relatively small offences.
Her opposition to the "strop bill" also brought her into contact with Samuel Cronwright , a politically active farmer. They were of the same mind on the "Native Question" and on Rhodes, and Schreiner soon fell in love with him. During a brief visit to England in , she discussed with her friends the possibility of marrying him, although she was concerned that she would find marriage restrictive.
She put aside these doubts, however, and they were married in , after which they settled at Cronwright's farm. The next few years were difficult and unsettled ones for them. Schreiner's worsening health forced the couple to move constantly, while her first and only child, a daughter, died within a day. This loss was worsened by the fact that all her other pregnancies would end in miscarriages. However, she found solace in work, publishing a pamphlet with her husband on the political situation in and Trooper Peter Halket of Mashonaland the next year. Both of these isolated her from her family and the people around her, and she experienced long spells of loneliness during this period of her life.
In , the couple moved to Johannesburg for health reasons. In the aftermath of the Jameson Raid , they were seen as the champions of the Republican cause in the face of the inevitable war between Boer and British. Schreiner tried to persuade South African officials to turn away from the path of war, and, when that failed, wrote The South African Question by an English South African in an attempt to open the English public's eyes to the reality of the situation.
That was equally unsuccessful, but Schreiner was undaunted. Throughout the war, she continued to defend Boer interests and argue for peace, as did her brother William Philip Schreiner , even though she was suffering physically and psychologically and all her efforts only met with ridicule. As a means of distraction, she began reworking the "sex book" she had started in England into Woman and Labour , which is the best expression of her characteristic concerns with socialism and gender equality.
Driven by her prophetic vision of a non-racist, non-sexist South Africa, during the Boer War Schreiner lived in the tiny hamlet of Hanover, virtually a British army camp. The last few years of Schreiner's life were marked by ill-health and an increasing sense of isolation. Despite this, she still engaged in politics and was determined to make her mark on a new constitution, especially through a work like Closer Union. In this polemic, she argued for more rights not only for blacks but also for women. She also joined the newly founded Cape Branch of the Women's Enfranchisement League in , becoming its vice-president.
However, she refused to lend her support to it any longer when other branches wished to exclude black women from the vote. When Woman and Labour was finally published in , Schreiner was severely ill, her asthma worsened by attacks of angina. Two years later, she sailed alone to England for treatment, but was trapped there by the outbreak of World War I.
During this time, her primary interest was in pacifism — she was in contact with Gandhi and other prominent activists like Emily Hobhouse and Elizabeth Maria Molteno — and she started a book on war, which was abbreviated and published as The Dawn of Civilisation.
This was the last book she was to write. After the war, she returned home to the Cape, where she died in her sleep in a boarding house in She was buried later in Kimberley. After the death of her husband, Samuel Cronwright, her body was exhumed, and along with her baby, dog and husband, she was reburied atop Buffelskop mountain, on the farm known as Buffelshoek, near Cradock, in the Eastern Cape.
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Woman and Labour by Olive Schreiner
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. October Learn how and when to remove this template message. This article includes a list of references , but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. February Learn how and when to remove this template message. Retrieved 2 February Retrieved 26 July New Woman of the late 19th century born before Wells ' Ann Veronica The allegory "Three Dreams in a Desert" which I published about nineteen years ago was taken from this book; and I have felt that perhaps being taken from its context it was not quite clear to every one.
I had also tried throughout to illustrate the subject with exactly those particular facts in the animal and human world, with which I had come into personal contact and which had helped to form the conclusions which were given; as it has always seemed to me that in dealing with sociological questions a knowledge of the exact manner in which any writer has arrived at his view is necessary in measuring its worth.
The work had occupied a large part of my life, and I had hoped, whatever its deficiencies, that it might at least stimulate other minds, perhaps more happily situated, to an enlarged study of the question. In I was living in Johannesburg, when, owing to ill-health, I was ordered suddenly to spend some time at a lower level. At the end of two months the Boer War broke out. Two days after war was proclaimed I arrived at De Aar on my way back to the Transvaal; but Martial Law had already been proclaimed there, and the military authorities refused to allow my return to my home in Johannesburg and sent me to the Colony; nor was I allowed to send any communication through, to any person, who might have extended some care over my possessions.
Some eight months after, when the British troops had taken and entered Johannesburg; a friend, who, being on the British side, had been allowed to go up, wrote me that he had visited my house and found it looted, that all that was of value had been taken or destroyed; that my desk had been forced open and broken up, and its contents set on fire in the centre of the room, so that the roof was blackened over the pile of burnt papers.
He added that there was little in the remnants of paper of which I could make any use, but that he had gathered and stored the fragments till such time as I might be allowed to come and see them. I thus knew my book had been destroyed. Some months later in the war when confined in a little up-country hamlet, many hundreds of miles from the coast and from Johannesburg; with the brunt of the war at that time breaking around us, de Wet having crossed the Orange River and being said to have been within a few miles of us, and the British columns moving hither and thither, I was living in a little house on the outskirts of the village, in a single room, with a stretcher and two packing-cases as furniture, and with my little dog for company.
Thirty-six armed African natives were set to guard night and day at the doors and windows of the house; and I was only allowed to go out during certain hours in the middle of the day to fetch water from the fountain, or to buy what I needed, and I was allowed to receive no books, newspapers or magazines. A high barbed wire fence, guarded by armed natives, surrounded the village, through which it would have been death to try to escape. All day the pom- poms from the armoured trains, that paraded on the railway line nine miles distant, could be heard at intervals; and at night the talk of the armed natives as they pressed against the windows, and the tramp of the watch with the endless "Who goes there?
When a conflict was fought near by, the dying and wounded were brought in; three men belonging to our little village were led out to execution; death sentences were read in our little market-place; our prison was filled with our fellow-countrymen; and we did not know from hour to hour what the next would bring to any of us.
Olive Schreiner Archive
Under these conditions I felt it necessary I should resolutely force my thought at times from the horror of the world around me, to dwell on some abstract question, and it was under these circumstances that this little book was written; being a remembrance mainly drawn from one chapter of the larger book.
The armed native guards standing against the uncurtained windows, it was impossible to open the shutters, and the room was therefore always so dark that even the physical act of writing was difficult. A year and a half after, when the war was over and peace had been proclaimed for above four months, I with difficulty obtained a permit to visit the Transvaal.
I found among the burnt fragments the leathern back of my book intact, the front half of the leaves burnt away; the back half of the leaves next to the cover still all there, but so browned and scorched with the flames that they broke as you touched them; and there was nothing left but to destroy it. I even then felt a hope that at some future time I might yet rewrite the entire book.
But life is short; and I have found that not only shall I never rewrite the book, but I shall not have the health even to fill out and harmonise this little remembrance from it. It is therefore with considerable pain that I give out this fragment. I am only comforted by the thought that perhaps, all sincere and earnest search after truth, even where it fails to reach it, yet, often comes so near to it, that other minds more happily situated may be led, by pointing out its very limitations and errors, to obtain a larger view.
I have dared to give this long and very uninteresting explanation, not at all because I have wished by giving the conditions under which this little book was written, to make excuse for any repetitions or lack of literary perfection, for these things matter very little; but, because and this matters very much it might lead to misconception on the subject-matter itself if its genesis were not exactly understood.
Not only is this book not a general view of the whole vast body of phenomena connected with woman's position; but it is not even a bird's-eye view of the whole question of woman's relation to labour. In the original book the matter of the parasitism of woman filled only one chapter out of twelve, and it was mainly from this chapter that this book was drawn. The question of the parasitism of woman is, I think, very vital, very important; it explains many phenomena which nothing else explains; and it will be of increasing importance.
But for the moment there are other aspects of woman's relation to labour practically quite as pressing.
In the larger book I had devoted one chapter entirely to an examination of the work woman has done and still does in the modern world, and the gigantic evils which arise from the fact that her labour, especially domestic labour, often the most wearisome and unending known to any section of the human race, is not adequately recognised or recompensed.