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Open Cultural Studies

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How the Other Half Lives: Under the Arch with Lady Henry Somerset

Joanne Paisana
Published Online: 2017-10-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0015


The reforming work of Isabella Caroline Somerset (Lady Henry Somerset 1851-1921) is largely overlooked today. Dedicated to women’s causes at home and abroad and to temperance in particular, having first-hand knowledge of the privileged and the underprivileged, this determined, multi-talented and opinionated woman uncharacteristically wrote a fictional novel, Under the Arch (1906). In the novel, London aristocrats are portrayed rubbing shoulders with slum dwellers, but there is little real connection. The problems that the social policies introduced by the Liberals from 1906-1914 would address are nevertheless highlighted. It can be no coincidence that Somerset was well acquainted with many of these politicians. The themes of relieving the poor, Christian doctrine, marriage, women’s suffrage and imperialism are addressed, although Somerset’s focus is simply on “doing good” and loving one’s neighbour

Keywords: Isabel Somerset; women reformers; temperance


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About the article

Received: 2017-04-24

Accepted: 2017-09-07

Published Online: 2017-10-18

Published in Print: 2017-10-26

Citation Information: Open Cultural Studies, Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 161–171, ISSN (Online) 2451-3474, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0015.

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© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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