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Edith Jemima Simcox (21 August 1844 – 15 September 1901) was a British writer, trade union activist, and early feminist. The most famous and best-documented example of a Victorian woman’s avowed but unreciprocated passion for another woman is Edith Simcox’s life-long love for George Eliot, which has made her a staple figure in histories of lesbianism.
Simcox began her writing career as a reviewer, publishing criticism under the pseudonym "H. Lawrenny," including an important review of the Memoir of Jane Austen (1870). In 1875 she and Emma Paterson became the first women to attend the Trades Union Congress as delegates. She lived at 60 Dean Street, London. From 1879-1882 she was a member of the London School Board representing Westminster.
Simcox (1844– 1901) was a trade-union organizer and professional writer who regularly contributed book reviews to the periodical press and published fiction and nonfiction, including a study of women’s property ownership in ancient societies.
From 1876 to 1900, Simcox kept a journal in a locked book that surfaced in 1930. Simcox gave her life story a title, The Autobiography of a Shirtmaker, that foregrounded her successful work as a labor activist, but its actual content focused on what Simcox called “the love-passion of her life,” her longing for George Eliot as an unattainable, idealized beloved whom she called “my goddess” or, even more reverently, “Her.” Simcox knowingly embraced a love that could not be returned, though she was aware of reciprocated, consummated sexual love between women.
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