‘Intellectual Acid’:Cultural Resistance, Cultural Citizenship, and Emotional (Counter)Community in the Freewoman
This article explores the Freewoman’s relation to culture, as well as its role as a countercultural periodical — one that resisted hegemonic ideas and styles — and in the creation of an emotional (counter)community. It follows Raymond Williams’s understanding of culture as having two senses: one is ‘a whole way of life’ — everyday practices — the other arts and other creative endeavours. The Freewoman was cultivating a view of feminism as a way of life that encompassed both these meanings, as its editor, Dora Marsden, encouraged the expression of both traditional and novel perspectives, working to connect everyday life to a vision of a feminist, perhaps utopian, future. My focus here is on three main ideas of culture and community under Williams’s general framework of ‘culture’: cultural resistance and counterculture, cultural citizenship, and emotional countercommunity. These aspects of the Freewoman were central to its feminist politics, and I offer that attention to emotions and emotional communities can enrich our understanding of periodicals and their political workings.
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