Originally inspired by the digitisation of the autobiographical writings of Constance Maynard, this volume considers women’s historical experience of sexuality through the frame of the history of emotions. Constance Maynard (1849-1935) rose to prominence as the first Mistress and Principal of Westfield College, holding that position from 1882 to 1913. However, her writings offer more than an insight into the movement for women’s higher education. As pioneering feminist scholars such as Martha Vicinus have discovered, Maynard’s life writings are a valuable source for scholars of gender and sexuality. Writing about her relationships with other women teachers and students, Maynard attempted to understand her emotions and desires within the frame of her evangelical religious culture.
The contributions to this volume draw out the significance of Maynard’s writings for the histories of gender, sexuality, religion, and the emotions. Interdisciplinary in nature, they use the approaches of literary studies, architecture studies, and life writing to understand Maynard and her historical significance. This book was originally published as a special issue of Women’s History Review.