This five volume set deals in detail with Josephine Butler's campaign for the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts in Britain and the Colonies. At present, access to Butler's work is restricted as a number of relevant anthologies are out of print. The bulk of these can only be read in specialist libraries and the original copies are becoming increasingly fragile after a century of use. This edited collection makes her writing accessible once again, setting it in an appropriate historical context.
In addition to Butler's own work, the thematically ordered volumes include related texts which are important for understanding her campaign. This allows the reader to position Josephine Butler in relation to her opponents and to follow the response to her activities. All the texts are complete and reproduced in facsimile - there are pamphlets, books, media responses to Butler's activities, letters to The Times, articles from The Lancet, Pall Mall Gazette, The Shield and The Dawn as well as private letters both to and from Butler. The set is introduced through a substantial essay by Jane Jordan, one of the leading international scholars on Butler's life and works, and each volume contains a short introduction by the editors which contextualises the selections.
Butler writes clearly and vividly, combining impeccable logic with passionate commitment. She does not soften her message to protect the sensibilities of her audience. She is uncompromising in her analysis, determined to 'set a floodlight on your doings' as she told a stunned royal commission in 1871. Josephine Butler and the Prostitution Campaigns demonstrates the great importance of this fascinating campaigner's work.