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The Solitude of Self
The Solitude of Self: Thinking About Elizabeth Cady Stanton | Vivian Gornick
11 posts | 3 read | 8 to read
Elizabeth Cady Stantonalong with her comrade-in-arms, Susan B. Anthonywas one of the most important leaders of the movement to gain American women the vote. But, as Vivian Gornick argues in this passionate, vivid biographical essay, Stanton is also the greatest feminist thinker of the nineteenth century. Endowed with a philosophical cast of mind large enough to grasp the immensity that women's rights addressed, Stanton developed a devotion to equality uniquely American in character. Her writing and life make clear why feminism as a liberation movement has flourished here as nowhere else in the world. Born in 1815 into a conservative family of privilege, Stanton was radicalized by her experience in the abolitionist movement. Attending the first international conference on slavery in London in 1840, she found herself amazed when the conference officials refused to seat her because of her sex. At that moment she realized that "In the eyes of the world I was not as I was in my own eyes, I was only a woman." At the same moment she saw what it meant for the American republic to have failed to deliver on its fundamental promise of equality for all. In her last public address, "The Solitude of Self," (delivered in 1892), she argued for women's political equality on the grounds that loneliness is the human condition, and that each citizen therefore needs the tools to fight alone for his or her interests. Vivian Gornick first encountered "The Solitude of Self" thirty years ago. Of that moment Gornick writes, "I hardly knew who Stanton was, much less what this speech meant in her life, or in our history, but it I can still remember thinking with excitement and gratitude, as I read these words for the first time, eighty years after they were written, We are beginning where she left off.' " The Solitude of Self is a profound, distilled meditation on what makes American feminism American from one of the finest critics of our time.
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kspenmoll
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OriginalCyn620 👍🏻📚 1mo
Leftcoastzen I love this book. And love Vivian Gornicks writing. 1mo
Linsy Love that statue! 1mo
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kspenmoll @Linsy I found it years ago in a store in Harvard Square called Mykonos, that no longer exits. 😕 1mo
kspenmoll @Leftcoastzen Totally agree! 1mo
Suet624 @Leftcoastzen I love this book too. I think of it often but I can never remember the title! 4w
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kspenmoll
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#AugustGrrrl #IndependentWomen #suffrage #ElizabethCadyStanton #DeclarationofSentiments
#TheSolitudeofSelf
An independent woman, journalist, essayist, educator, Vivian Gornick, writes of another independent woman from the19th century, Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
@Cinfhen @Robothugs

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Suet624
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I completed 12 books in April. Still working on a Tolstoy Serial Reader and some assorted short stories. One of the books was Joe Hill's Fireman - good lord, did that need to be so long??? These four were my favorites. The kittens signify Sue Klebold's A Mother's Reckoning. For some reason I can't put her smiling face or her son's in the photo. Great book though.

saresmoore A great reading month! 3y
HotMessJess Dang! Great reading month!! 3y
Reviewsbylola No, it certainly did not need to be so long. I would have enjoyed it so much more had it been at least two hundred pages shorter. 3y
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Suet624 @Reviewsbylola Thank you for saying so. Jeepers! 3y
Hobbinol 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 3y
minkyb Great month. What would you have cut from The Fireman. I was so engrossed I didn't remember it being extra long! 😂 3y
Suet624 I was engrossed as well. Sped through it. I think it could have been pared down though. And I never got over my issues with the idea that a pregnant woman was doing all this running around. I was a whiny pregnant woman. This woman seemed to run, jump, climb mountains without complaint. :). @minkyb (edited) 3y
ValerieAndBooks I'm currently stalled on The Fireman, not sure if I want to keep going.... 3y
Suet624 @ValerieAndBooks yeah, good luck. 😂😂 i've never read a Joe Hill Book before so I felt compelled to finish it. 3y
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Suet624
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Pickpick

A final note on this book: this woman was fierce! Stanton realized the Bible itself instructed men from time immemorial to see women as inferior by nature. In 1886 she and her daughter worked on a project she called The Woman‘s Bible. The idea was to extract from the Bible all references to women, arrange them in order, and submit them to scholarly commentary. It's online: https://archive.org/stream/thewomansbible09880gut/wbibl10.txt

saresmoore That's awesome! I had no idea! 3y
Suet624 @saresmoore I had no idea either! It was the final straw for the suffragettes though. They didn't want her to alienate folks. They had little to do with her after that. 3y
saresmoore Ah, the greater good argument. That's interesting. The patriarchy within the church has a solid framework that's still standing. ECS was ahead of her time...or maybe just her religion. 🤔 3y
minkyb Wow! I also had no clue! 3y
Suet624 @minkyb I'm so glad I read this book. I learned so much. 3y
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Suet624
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One of [Stanton's] passions was reform in …women‘s hairstyles. In 1852, having cut off her own long hair, she urges the same on her readers: “It would delight all ... lovers of comfort, to see the heaps of beautiful curls and rich braids that have fallen .. from the overheated aching heads of ... our fair ones. If the women could know the luxury of short hair, there would soon be a general leave taking of hair-pins, combs, braids and knots.

Hollie Love this! 3y
Suet624 @Hollie 😂😂😂 3y
geodynamical Everywhere I look, more women are sporting undercuts and side shaves. We want to keep our feminine locks while removing the weight and heat! Ahh, goodbye neck pain! 3y
Suet624 @geodynamical I had very long thick hair for many years. Just cut it to shoulder length. What a difference! 3y
56 likes4 comments
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Suet624
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One of the issues that Stanton sought to address was a woman's right to seek a divorce. Many women were unable to divorce drunkards and abusers. However, she was met with opposition from those around her and she decided to put it aside in order to continue her pursuit of voting rights for women.

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Suet624
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Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony are blowing my mind this morning. I thought I knew a lot about them, but this book is snapping things into focus for me. Their work to promote freedom and equality for women in the late 1800's was revolutionary. This, in combination with the Tolstoy book I'm reading, also from the late 1800's, is making me question just how courageous and thoughtful we actually are these days. #Renegades #lyricalapril

Cinfhen Female Renegades 💪🏼💗💪🏼 3y
Lmstraubie I felt the same way when I read the March Trilogy. 3y
Suet624 @Lmstraubie Yes, you're right. Such dedication and courage. 3y
Hobbinol 👍🏻for the insightful comment--- there's nothing like historical perspective.. 3y
Suet624 Many thanks @Hobbinol 3y
62 likes1 stack add5 comments
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Suet624
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Not that I'm lonely but I completely agree with this statement. However, I would have amended it to say "deep connection". Good morning everyone!! Let the reading begin. #litsypartyofone

saresmoore ❤️ I agree with your amendment, too. 3y
Suet624 @saresmoore 💕💕 3y
74 likes2 comments
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Suet624
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My Friday night read. #litsypartyofone

saresmoore Perfect! 3y
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