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Judgment of Eve

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May Sinclair was a prolific author, literary critic, and feminist activist, famous in Britain and the US in the 1910’s and 20’s. The Judgment of Eve, like most of her novels, uses irony and understatement to expose the hypocrisy of the social order by revealing the tragic social reality of women’s powerlessness within it.

Aggie is by far the best looking, and the best educated young woman in her small, isolated village of Queningford. Should she marry the strong, confident, and successful –- but not intellectual -- farmer, John? Or would her life be happier with the relatively poor, but sensitive, poetic and intellectual lawyer’s clerk, Arthur? She chooses Arthur, and their life in London, though impoverished, begins in a whirlwind of lectures, debates and museums. Both are thrilled by the birth of their first child, though his arrival puts an end, temporarily, to their cultural activities. Ever desirous of fulfilling her husband’s wishes, Aggie bears another child every year, for 6 years. The story exposes the very different ways in which Aggie and Arthur experience and manage the crowding out of their early intellectual dreams by the increasingly grim realities – the poverty, illness and estrangement – imposed by the life they have chosen to create. - Summary by Kirsten Wever

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