Fettered for Life
Afterword by Grace Farrell
First published in 1874, Fettered for Life is both a page-turning melodrama and a classic of subversive literature. As young Laura Stanley struggles to make her way independently in New York City, she faces prejudices, limitations, and dangers based on her gender. She also encounters a colorful cast of villains and heroes representing a cross-section of New York society: a vile and corrupt judge, a working-class wife-batterer, a suffragist woman doctor, a gutsy washer-woman, a female crossdresser, and the young man who must accept Laura as an equal before he can win her love.
"The message of Blake's 1874 novel is simple and comprehensive: that women of all classes are denied voice, useful and well-paid work, public protection, the vote and even life itself. . . . Impressive is the range of female types and number of interconnecting plots by which Blake relentlessly expresses this message."
"An outstanding nineteenth-century women's novel found!"
"Fettered for Life combines a compelling plot line with a passionate, and amazingly contemporary view of men's oppression of women. . . . [It is] both totally absorbing and strikingly relevant."
"The action never falters in this entertaining novel, but as the heroine undergoes her series of adventures, the author raises penetrating questions about the wide range of social and political forces that limited the freedom of American women."
"Fettered for Life is the most comprehensive women's rights novel of the nineteenth century. It should be required reading for anyone interested in women's studies and, more generally, in American cultural history."