The development of Marsden’s theory formation is of interest here only insofar as it directly relates to the theme of anarchism in the relatively short period from ca. 1912 to 1914. Until 1912, Marsden’s viewpoint had progressed from a socialist to a feminist and humanist and finally to an individualist point of view, which she termed egoist and in which all that had come previously was “alike contained and transcended.” Literary “egoisms” had come into vogue since ca. 1890, most from the Continent, penetrating the Anglo-Saxon sphere (Nietzsche, Barrès, and others) and causing the discourse in Marsden’s »Freewoman« to affirm egoism before the name of Stirner was even mentioned. Nevertheless, the American culture critic Floyd Dell addressed Marsden even then — due to her programmatic opening article (»Bondwomen,« 23 Nov 1911) — admiringly as “The Max Stirner of Feminism” (»Women as World Builders,« p.103).
After Stirner’s »The Ego and His Own« appeared in English (London, 1912) this book seemed to Marsden to be of especially remarkable value. Contrary to habit, she even spoke about the book once, enthusiastically and with unchecked superlatives: it was (not “one of the,” but rather) “the” “most powerful work” that had ever appeared (1 Sept 1913). — Only he or she who is familiar with the peculiar ways in which Stirner’s thought was received, particularly those approving (Mackay, Ruest, Jünger; see Laska, 1996), will look more closely here.
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