Charlotte Haldane

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Charlotte Haldane (née Franken, first married name Burghes; 27 April 1894 – 16 March 1969) was a British feminist author. [1] Her second husband was the biologist J.B.S. Haldane.

Biography[edit]

Charlotte Franken was born in Sydenham, London.[2] Her parents were Jewish immigrants, her father, Joseph, a German fur trader. In 1906 the family moved to Antwerp. She enrolled on a typing course in London. Charlotte later described herself as a "feminist and suffragette" from the age of sixteen.[1] During the First World War her parents were interned but emigrated in 1915 to the United States.

She married Jack Burghes in 1918 and they had a son Ronnie. Charlotte joined the Daily Express as a journalist in 1920; she also became an advocate of divorce reform, married women's employment, and easier access to contraception.[2] In 1924 however she interviewed the biologist J.B.S. Haldane for the Daily Express and they soon became friends. She then had a scandalous divorce from her husband, before marrying Haldane in 1926.[2] In the same year, Haldane wrote a dystopian novel, Man's World. Man's World is set in a world ruled by a scientific male elite, who restrict the number of women to be born.[1] From adolescence women in this world are either made into "vocational mothers", or if they have no interest in motherhood, they are sterilized by the government and become "neuters".[1] Man's World is sometimes compared to other dystopian novels of the interwar period, including Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and Katharine Burdekin's Swastika Night.[1][3]

Haldane's 1927 book Motherhood and Its Enemies drew some criticism for its attacks on spinsters and suffragates for "devaluing motherhood" and causing male-female "sex antagonism." Despite Haldane's feminism, Sheila Jeffreys has called Motherhood and its Enemies "an antifeminist classic".[4]

In 1937, she joined the Communist Party of Great Britain.[2] During this time, she also worked as editor of the anti-fascist magazine Woman Today.[4]

After a wartime trip to the Soviet Union, she became disillusioned with Communism, which J.B.S. still believed in, writing about it in Russian Newsreel.[2] The Haldanes separated in 1942, divorcing in 1945.[2] J.B.S. later married Helen Spurway.

She spent her last years writing biographies of several historical figures.[2] She died in 1969 of pneumonia.[2]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Man's World (1926)
  • Motherhood and Its Enemies (1927)
  • Brother to Bert (1930)
  • I Bring Not Peace (1932)
  • Youth Is A Crime (1934)
  • Melusine (1936)
  • Russian Newsreel (1941)
  • Justice Is Deaf (play)
  • Truth Will Out (autobiography, 1949)
  • Marcel Proust (1951)
  • The Shadow of a Dream (1953)
  • Age of Consent (play, 1953)
  • The Gallyslaves of Love (1957)
  • Mozart (1960)
  • Daughter of Paris (1961)
  • Tempest over Tahiti (1963)
  • The Last Great Empress of China (1965)
  • Queen of Hearts: Marguerite of Valois (1968)

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e Elizabeth Russell, "The Loss of the Feminine Principle in Charlotte Haldane's Man's World and Katherine Burdekin's "Swastika Night" in Lucie Armitt, Where no man has gone before : women and science fiction. London Routledge, 1991. ISBN 0415044472 . (pp. 15-28)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h W D Rubinstein; Michael Jolles; Hilary L Rubinstein, The Palgrave dictionary of Anglo-Jewish history. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.ISBN 1403939101 (pp. 387–388)
  3. ^ "Other dystopias of the period like Charlotte Haldane's Man's World (1926) and Katherine Burdekin's Swastika Night (1937) investigate the ways in which gender informs totalitarian regimes". David Seed, A Companion To Science Fiction. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2005. ISBN 1405112182 (p. 484)
  4. ^ a b Susan Squier, "Sexual Biopolitics in Man's World; the writings of Charlotte Haldane". in Angela Ingram and Daphne Patai, (eds.) Rediscovering Forgotten Radicals: British Women Writers, 1889-1939. University of North Carolina Press, 2009 ISBN 0807844144 (pp. 137–155)
Sources

External links[edit]