The feminist and socialist writer and social theorist Olive Schreiner (1855-1920) was one of the most important and radical social commentators of her day.
Her published writings include novels, allegories and influential works of social theory, among them The Story of An African Farm, Undine, From Man to Man, Dreams, Dream Life and Real Life, Trooper Peter Halket of Mashonaland, The Political Situation, Closer Union, and Woman and Labour.
Around 4800 of Schreiner’s letters survive, and they appear here just as she wrote them - including their omissions, spelling mistakes, deletions and insertions.
They were written between 1871 and 1920, have these strong 'bird in flight' characteristics, and provide an unparalleled source for exploring the unfolding thinking of one of the great feminist theorists and key New Woman writers. Her letters provide an unparalleled resource for investigating colonialism under transition, metropolitan feminism and socialism, prostitution, marriage, changing understandings of ‘race’ and capital, imperialism 'on the ground' in southern Africa, the South African War, women's franchise campaigns, ‘race’ and labour issues, international feminist networks, pacifism and war economies, and political and economic changes in South Africa post WW1.
Olive Schreiner's letters also enable letter-writing practices in the social networks she was part of to be explored over a time-period in which many technological and related changes massively impacted on epistolary exchanges, including the invention of addresses, postage stamps and postal services, steam transport, the telegraph....