A World of Women by J.D. Beresford
Trade Paperback – MIT Press – Mar 2022 – 317 pages
Imagine a plague that brings society to a standstill by killing off most of the men on Earth. The few men who survive descend into lechery and atavism. Meanwhile, a group of women (accompanied by one virtuous male survivor) leave the wreckage of London to start fresh, establishing a communally run agrarian outpost. But their sexist society hasn’t permitted most of them to learn any useful skills—will the commune survive their first winter? This is the bleak world imagined in 1913 by English writer J. D. Beresford—one that has particular resonance for the planet’s residents in the 2020s. This edition of A World of Women offers twenty-first century readers a new look at a neglected classic.
Beresford introduces us to the solidly bourgeois, prim and proper Gosling family. As once-bustling London shuts down—Parliament closes, factories grind to a halt, nature reclaims stone and steel—the paterfamilias Mr. Gosling adopts a life of libertinism while his daughters in the countryside struggle to achieve a radically transformed and improved egalitarian and feminist future.