Reading. That most solitary of activities which has helped me understand and connect with others in the most profound of ways.
Pretentious, maybe. True, most definitely. And so I’ll lay myself open to derision because I would really like to share my latest reading discovery.
I was researching women who lived in fin-de-siècle Vienna recently because...well, that’s another story, when I stumbled across a short work by a woman called Adelheid Popp.
‘Who,’ I hear you cry, ‘is Adelheid Popp? Never heard of her.’
Well, after reading her autobiography you might start to question why that is. Why have you not heard of this most inspirational of women?
A Socialist and a Feminist, her story is charmingly written and beautifully moving. One of 15 children born into the most desperate poverty she rose to become one of the leading pioneers of her age, calling for fair wages, improved working conditions (including sick pay), all the while campaigning for universal suffrage and against sexism and exploitation of women in society.
Haven’t we heard it all before? I’d thought so too but it was only when I read her personal account of her youthful experiences and the hardships she endured that I actually felt it.
It will inspire, amaze and move you and the foreword written by Ramsay McDonald sets the scene.
And it’s all accessible for free. I downloaded the pdf version (which I’ve linked here) and finished reading it in hours.
Adelheid Popp. It’s a crime that I’ve not heard of you before now.