Page 130 - PB Cat 1999-2021
P. 130

  Portrait of Hertha Ayrton at Girton College, Cambridge by Helena Arsène Darmesteter
A young woman scientist with ‘a lab of her own’ in the family home abandons her research to become a suffragette. The title of The Call has several meanings – military, feminist, vocational, emotional – and it begins slowly, in the guise of an Edwardian ‘woman’s novel’, before shocking the reader with its radicalism.The case of a young girl who has been sexually assaulted makes Ursula see that‘it was the law that was insane, or rather the lawmakers... The suffragettes were right.There was some
The Call
Endpapers taken from ‘Poppyland’, a duplex-printed cotton designed in 1904 and manufactured for Liberty in 1912.
© V&A Images.
connection between such things and the Vote.’ Later she witnesses the police knocking down an elderly woman and ‘The Cause, from being an intellectual desirability, suddenly became a religion.’ Months in prison, and a brutal experience of force-feeding, necessitate a period of convalescence. But in 1915 she returns to her lab to work on a method of extinguishing the liquid fire used by the Germans at the Front.This is a fascinating and brave novel we are proud to have brought back to life.
 NO 129
448pp PERSEPHONE BOOKS ISBN 9781910263198

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