Cicely Hamilton

Cicely Hamilton (1872–1952) was an Anglo-Irish actress, author, and feminist campaigner best known for her 1909 treatise Marriage as a Trade. Her prewar plays include Diana of Dobson's (1908) and How the Vote Was Won (1909). After working in the north of France during WWI and witnessing how its violence affected civilians, she was inspired to write Theodore Savage (1922), a proto-sf novel presciently foregrounding modern warfare's destructive power. 

  • Theodore Savage

    Theodore Savage

    Cicely Hamilton

    From one of the earliest feminist science fiction writers, a novel that envisions the fall of civilization—and the plight of the modern woman in a post-apocalyptic wilderness.

    When war breaks out in Europe, British civilization collapses overnight. The ironically named protagonist must learn to survive by his wits in a new Britain. When we first meet Savage, he is a complacent civil servant, primarily concerned with romancing his girlfriend. During the brief war, in which both sides use population displacement as a terrible strategic weapon, Savage must battle his fellow countrymen. He shacks up with an ignorant young woman in a forest hut—a kind of inverse Garden of Eden, where no one is happy. Eventually, he sets off in search of other survivors . . . only to discover a primitive society where science and technology have come to be regarded with superstitious awe and terror. A pioneering feminist, Hamilton offers a warning about the degraded state of modern women, who—being “unhandy, unresourceful, superficial”—would suffer a particularly sad fate in a postapocalyptic social order.

    Susan R. Grayzel is Professor of History at Utah State University, where she researches and teaches about modern European history, women's and gender history, the history of the world wars, and war and culture. Her publications in these areas include Women's Identities at War (1999) and At Home and Under Fire (2012). Her latest book is The Age of the Gas Mask: How British Civilians Faced the Terrors of Total War (Cambridge University Press, 2022).

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