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"An immensely ambitious, complicated and pioneering study that is sure to have a major impact on historians... [The] book is a series of essays that trace the representation of gender, as well as women's actual participation in public life."

"Ryan's elegant essays sketch a chronology of changing gender symbology and contribute to our understanding of the cultural construction of boundaries between public and private. Historians and feminists will pursue for some time her questions about the process and consequences of excluding women from the public arena and their striving for participation in it."