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Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution

By June Rose

Founding the UK’s first birth control clinic in 1921, Marie Stopes is known as a feminist icon throughout the world.

‘I am writing a book which will electrify England,’ Marie Stopes told a friend, ‘a book about the plain facts of marriage.’ Her book, Married Love, was published in 1918, sold over a million copies and was translated into 13 languages. Yet its thirty-seven-year-old author, a lecturer in fossil plants, was, she insisted, still a virgin.

Celebrated through the UK as a pioneer of women’s rights, Stopes lead a remarkable life, travelling across the globe. Remaining braless until her seventies and married to a man so exhausted he agreed to her taking any lover she pleased, Marie marched to the beat of her own drum.

Drawing on hitherto unpublished family and personal letters and papers, a diary and Marie Stopes’s unpublished novel, June Rose throws new light on the interweaving of the public and personal life of a fascinating and formidable woman.

June Rose (1926-2018) was a writer and broadcaster who specialised in probing into the human and historical background of the social issues of the day. She authored several biographies, including Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution, Elizabeth Fry, the nineteenth-century prison reformer and Modigliani, the twentieth-century Italian painter and Susan Valadon: Mistress of Montmartre.

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