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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Atlantic Essays, Ought women to learn the alphabet? (search)
's Laura, nor the daughters of Charlemagne, nor the three hundred and sixty-five wives of Mohammed; but that Sappho and Madame de Maintenon could read altogether too well; while the case of Saint Brigitta, who brought forth twelve children and twelve books, was clearly exceptional, and afforded no safe precedent. It would seem that the brilliant Frenchman touched the root of the matter. Ought women to learn the alphabet? There the whole question lies. Concede this little fulcrum, and Archimedes will move the world before she has done with it: it becomes merely a question of time. Resistance must be made — here or nowhere. Obsta principiis. Woman must be a subject or an equal: there is no middle ground. What if the Chinese proverb should turn out to be, after all, the summit of wisdom, For men, to cultivate virtue is knowledge; for women, to renounce knowledge is virtue ? No doubt, the progress of events is slow, like the working of the laws of gravitation generally. Certai