“It is folly,” writes Jacqueline Rose, a professor of English at London’s Queen Mary University, “to suggest that the task of feminism is done.” Her new book, Women in Dark Times, draws on figures of the 20th century to shed light on the struggles of women today.

Her heroines are an improbable trio: Rosa Luxemburg, the Marxist revolutionary murdered in Berlin in 1919; Charlotte Salomon, the German-Jewish painter who died in Auschwitz; and Marilyn Monroe, darling of the US postwar silver screen, whose contribution to political history, not least through her marriage to Arthur Miller and their encounters with McCarthyism, is only coming to be understood.

The three are linked by their art and Rose’s thesis is a measured and decisive stroke in contemporary feminist theory.

Women in Dark Times, by Jacqueline Rose, Bloomsbury, RRP£20, 352 pages

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