Modern women on trial

Sexual transgression in the age of the flapper

By Lucy Bland

Modern women on trial


  • Paperback
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8263-4
  • Pages: 272
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £70.00
  • Published Date: September 2013
  • BIC Category: Humanities / Social & cultural history, HISTORY / Social History
  • Series: Gender in History


Modern women on trial looks at several sensational trials involving drugs, murder, adultery, miscegenation and sexual perversion in the period 1918-24. The trials, all with young female defendants, were presented in the media as morality tales, warning of the dangers of sensation-seeking and sexual transgression. The book scrutinises the trials and their coverage in the press to identify concerns about modern femininity. The flapper later became closely associated with the 'roaring' 1920s, but in the period immediately after the Great War she represented not only newness and hedonism, but also a frightening, uncertain future. This figure of the modern woman was a personification of the upheavals of the time, representing anxieties about modernity, and instabilities of gender, class, race and national identity. This accessible, extensively researched book will be of interest to all those interested in social, cultural or gender history.


Lucy Bland is Reader in History at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge


1. The case of the 'Cult of the clitoris': Treachery, patriotism and English womanhood
2. Butterfly women, 'Chinamen', dope fiends and metropolitan allure
3. The tribulations of Edith Thompson: Sexual incitement as a capital crime
4. Mme Fahmy's vindication: Orientalism, miscegenation fears and female fantasy
5. 'Hunnish scenes' and a 'Virgin birth': The contested marriage and motherhood of a curious modern woman

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