Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique will be published in e-book in the UK for the first time by Bookouture’s non-fiction imprint Thread.
Jenny Geras, Bookouture’s managing director, acquired UK and Commonwealth e-book and audio rights from Kerry D’Agostino at Curtis Brown US, acting for the Friedan Estate.
The new edition, published to coincide with the centenary of Friedan’s birth this year, will feature a new introduction by journalist Gaby Hinsliff.
The Feminine Mystique, Friedan’s non-fiction study, was first published in 1963, selling nearly three million copies in its first three years in print, according to Bookouture.
Geras said: "When I watched 'Mrs America' last year, I went back to read The Feminine Mystique for the first time in over 20 years, and was astonished to discover both that it wasn’t available as an e-book in the UK, and how very relevant it still is to modern women. We would love to believe that our lives are entirely different to those of the women portrayed by Friedan in The Feminine Mystique but her observations remain so vital today – more so than ever in the wake of the pandemic and the disproportionate effect it has had on women’s working lives. It is truly an honour and a privilege to be publishing a new edition of this book to coincide with Friedan’s 100th birthday."
Hinsliff said: "The definition of a classic is that each generation can discover something new in it, and that’s why I was excited by the idea of introducing The Feminine Mystique to a new audience. It’s best known as the book that radicalised a generation of frustrated Fifties housewives, encouraging them to demand more from life than marriage and motherhood, and inspiring a mass feminist movement in the process. But the deeper puzzle Friedan set out to solve was why women in the post-war years seemed to have taken a giant step backwards, just as the world should have been opening up for them. How had women been somehow persuaded that all they really wanted was to be at home? Why had the first wave of feminism, which won women the vote, not only stalled but seemingly jolted into reverse? It's at heart a cautionary tale about never taking hard-won progress for granted, ripe for revisiting in an era where women are once again confronting toxic misogyny. Then as now, it’s a call to arms."
The book will be published by Thread in e-book and audio on 8th March 2021.