BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Bertrand and Dora Russell on sex, marriage and the rule of fathers

    Connell, Sophia (2023) Bertrand and Dora Russell on sex, marriage and the rule of fathers. In: Elkind, L.D.C. and Mugar Klein, A. (eds.) Bertrand Russell, Feminism, and Women Philosophers in his Circle. History of Analytic Philosophy. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9783031330254. (In Press)

    [img] Text
    50341.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript
    Restricted to Repository staff only until 29 December 2026.

    Download (354kB) | Request a copy


    Reviewers of Bertrand Russell’s Marriage and Morals (1929) came to no consensus on the purpose of the work. Some saw it advocating love in marriage, others destroying marriage and still others as an attempt to justify promiscuity. Their confusion is in part due to various tensions in the work. This paper proposes that these were the result of an unsuccessful attempt to combine two incompatible value systems: aristocratic values and the new morality which Bertrand Russell and his wife at the time, Dora, promoted. The book also reveals a couple in crisis – whose ideals had proved impossible to realise in their life together. The paper will begin with a brief introduction to Marriage and Morals, including the nature of the work and its content. The second section will detail four topics in which conflicting ideas appear: instinct, sexual freedom, marriage, and fatherhood. The third section details two sets of values that clash in Marriage and Morals: aristocratic values and the so-called ‘new morality’. The latter will be partly illustrated by the contemporaneous writings of Dora Russell. The fourth section will return to the problematic areas from Marriage and Morals and attempt to disentangle these by considering the struggles theoretically and personally which the Russells were experiencing. The conclusion sums up what has been discovered about attitudes toward sex, marriage and family in Marriage and Morals and in Bertrand Russell’s own mind at a period of intense transition in his personal life.


    Item Type: Book Section
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Sophia Connell
    Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2023 04:55
    Last Modified: 03 Oct 2023 13:42


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item