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Book review: Eleanor Marx: A Life by Rachel Holmes

By Maria Misra   May 2014

Those expecting another pious addition to the canon of Victorian feminist worthies are in for a shock with Rachel Holmes’s biography Eleanor Marx, which casts Karl Marx’s daughter as the lead role in a gripping melodrama—Ibsen meets Henry James. Eleanor’s life was blighted by patriarchy, and by her own lack of self-belief. Her observation that she had inherited her father’s nose but not his genius was typically self-deprecating. Intellectually precocious, and a charismatic organiser, activist and writer, she was thwarted in her bid for an independent career by her selfish father,…

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