Strand, London WC2R 2LS, United Kingdom
King's College London, where Rachel Holmes was educated.
Mile End Rd, Bethnal Green, London E1 4NS, United Kingdom
Queen Mary University of London, where Rachel Holmes received her Doctor of Philosophy degree.
(An explosive story of colonial life, nineteenth-century s...)
An explosive story of colonial life, nineteenth-century science, and the mysteries of sexuality, Rachel Holmes's Scanty Particulars transcends the genre of biography. Through prodigious research and vivid storytelling, Holmes brings to life one of the most enigmatic figures of his time. In the 1820s, Dr. James Barry burst into the English establishment from nowhere. He landed in Cape Town and became the leading military doctor in the South African colony, working tirelessly to improve the conditions of free and enslaved women, lepers, and the indigent. Barry's further travels included postings to the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and Canada. In his career, he collided with some of the leading figures of the age, and his exploits were regarded with fascination by Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. Barry was a flamboyant bon vivant: fashionably dressed, flirtatious, and always accompanied by a poodle. Wherever he went, he sparked gossip, made enemies, and inspired relentless curiosity about his identity - curiosity that erupted into international scandal upon Barry's death, when his maidservant discovered the truth about this brilliant but mysterious icon of the Victorian age.
(Saartjie Baartman was twenty-one years old when she was t...)
Saartjie Baartman was twenty-one years old when she was taken from her native South Africa and shipped to London. Within weeks, the striking African beauty was the talk of the social season of 1810 - hailed as "the Hottentot Venus" for her exquisite physique and suggestive semi-nude dance. As her fame spread to Paris, Saartjie became a lightning rod for late Georgian and Napoleonic attitudes toward sex and race, exploitation and colonialism, prurience, and science. In African Queen, Rachel Holmes recounts the luminous, heartbreaking story of one woman’s journey from slavery to stardom.
(The King James Version of the Bible (KJV) is a foundation...)
The King James Version of the Bible (KJV) is a foundation stone of the English language. The KJV was composed as a collective project and written to be spoken. Sixty-Six Books has been created, in the spirit of the original, in the same way. Sixty-Six Books is a fresh interpretation of the KJV for the new millennium, celebrating and challenging the traditions and achievements of this great work on the occasion of its 400th anniversary. The curators of this project have gathered together a formidable and inspiring line-up of the best established and emerging writing talent to respond to create a new book of the KJV, speaking back to the KJV with untrammeled inventiveness of the imagination.
(Half a century after the publication of The Feminine Myst...)
Half a century after the publication of The Feminine Mystique, women have really exchanged purity and maternity to become desiring machines inspired only by variations of sex, shopping, and masochism - all colored a brilliant neuro-pink? In this volume, fifty women young and old - writers, politicians, actors, scientists, mothers - reflect on the shades that inspired them and what being a woman means to them today.
(Unrestrained by convention, lion-hearted and free, Eleano...)
Unrestrained by convention, lion-hearted and free, Eleanor Marx (1855-98) was an exceptional woman. Hers was the first English translation of Flaubert's Mme Bovary. She pioneered the theatre of Henrik Ibsen. She was the first woman to lead the British dock workers' and gas workers' trade unions. For years she worked tirelessly for her father, Karl Marx, as personal secretary and researcher. Later she edited many of his key political works and laid the foundations for his biography. But foremost among her achievements was her pioneering feminism. For her, sexual equality was a necessary precondition for a just society. Rachel Holmes tells the story of the woman who did more than any other to transform British politics in the nineteenth century, who was unafraid to live her contradictions.
(Is feminism still a dirty word? In this book, twenty-five...)
Is feminism still a dirty word? In this book, twenty-five brightest, funniest, bravest young women explain what being a feminist in 2015 means to them.
(Sylvia Pankhurst fought militantly for a woman's right to...)
Sylvia Pankhurst fought militantly for a woman's right to vote, inspiring movements around the globe. But the vote was just the beginning. A talented artist, a free-spirit, a visionary, Sylvia was seen as "wild," even by the standards of her activist mother and sister. She became a radical feminist, committing herself to the fight for reproductive rights, equal pay, access to welfare and education, and freedom of sexual expression. She converted her experiences of torture, imprisonment, and violence into a lifelong quest to champion human rights. In this enthralling biography, Rachel Holmes interweaves Pankhurst's rebellious political and private lives to show how her astonishing achievements continue to resonate today.
Rachel Holmes was educated at King's College London and received a Doctor of Philosophy degree at Queen Mary University of London.
An educator, journalist, and former website manager for Amazon.com in the United Kingdom, Rachel Holmes worked as a lecturer at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa and a professor of English at the University of Sussex.
As a historian and author, she focuses on medical and gender issues. Her first book was Scanty Particulars: The Scandalous Life and Astonishing Secret of Dr. James Barry, Queen Victoria's Preeminent Military Doctor (2002), a biography of the famous British doctor James Miranda Barry.
Holmes offers an enticing portrayal of early 19th-century medicine as she traces the rise of the once-poor Barry, a dandy who quickly became a crusading physician in colonial medicine, performing one of the world's first cesarean sections, and a leading proponent of health care for women and the poor. She also traces his fall - Barry was relieved of his position of medical inspector after a celebrated trial in which he and a friend, Lord Somerset, were charged with homosexuality and incest. Despite this demotion, he continued to practice medicine in several British colonies for several decades. In this book, Holmes presents Barry's life as she uncovered it.
In 2007, she followed up with African Queen: The Real Life of the Hottentot Venus. This is a biography of Saartjie Baartman, a young South African woman, who was brought to London in 1810 and displayed seminude as she danced suggestively to show off to best affect her ample bottom, earning her the name Hottentot Venus. Her public display and ultimate study by scientists long ago gained her iconic status as a symbol of European fascination with African sexuality. In this book, Rachel Holmes traces the full arc of Saartjie Baartmen's extraordinary story - a story of race, eros, oppression, and fame that resonates powerfully today.
Holmes' known book, Eleanor Marx: A Life (2014), is a biography of a woman whose role in the arenas of social justice and feminism is not nearly well enough appreciated. Through Eleanor's life, Holmes paints a fascinating, extensive picture of late Victorian life in England and America and continental Europe that could easily serve as a reference point for further exploration, and yet is detailed enough. The book was serialized on BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week.
Her most recent book is a biography titled Sylvia Pankhurst: Natural Born Rebel (2020). Pankhurst, a daughter of Britain's leading suffragist, came by her radical politics naturally. But as this biography shows, she embraced a precociously modern awareness of gender and class, campaigning tirelessly for the rights of women and workers.
Holmes also co-edited I Call Myself A Feminist: The View from Twenty-Five Women Under Thirty, Fifty Shades of Feminism, and Sixty-Six Books: 21st-Century Writers Speak to the King James Bible: A Contemporary Response to the King James Bible. In addition, she served as a judge of the 2000 Whitbread Novel Award and the 2001 Orange Prize for Fiction. She worked with and for British Council literature festivals and international programs. Holmes is the curator of the new Impossible Conversations talks series at the Donmar Warehouse in London.
(Half a century after the publication of The Feminine Myst...)2013
(An explosive story of colonial life, nineteenth-century s...)2002
(Is feminism still a dirty word? In this book, twenty-five...)2015
(Saartjie Baartman was twenty-one years old when she was t...)2007
(Sylvia Pankhurst fought militantly for a woman's right to...)2020
(Unrestrained by convention, lion-hearted and free, Eleano...)2014
(The King James Version of the Bible (KJV) is a foundation...)2011
"The river is the best way to be alone, unplug, and think in the midst of one of the densest conurbations of people on the planet."
"The river is London's invisible city, hidden in plain view. The Thames has its own rules. It's neither feminine nor masculine and it flows with contradictions. It's one of the cleanest urban rivers in the world but full of hidden histories, lost lives, and dirty secrets."