Bridging the fields of political theory and history, this comprehensive study of Victorian reforms in marriage law reshapes our understanding of the feminist movement of that period. As Mary Shanley shows, Victorian feminists argued that justice for women would not follow from public rights alone, but required a fundamental transformation of the marriage relationship.
"Elegantly and clearly written, and based on an impressive mastery of the sources, this book is a very valuable addition to nineteenth-century legal history and the growing corpus of scholarly feminist legal scholarship."--A. W. Brian Simpson, The American Journal of Legal History
"Shanley's work is not only a fine feminist tract for our times but also a significant scholarly work."--Lee Holcombe, American Historical Review
"In this highly readable study, Mary Shanley analyzes the crucial nineteenth-century changes in married women's status. With the insight of a very acute and thoughtful political theorist, she demonstrates the intimate linkage of the domestic and the public oppression of women."--Susan Moller Okin