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Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and Her Oxford Circle Remade the World For Women

Mo Moulton

3 Reviews

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Biography

In MUTUAL ADMIRATION SOCIETY Royal Historical Society fellow Mo Moulton relates the remarkable friendship of renowned crime novelist Dorothy L. Sayers and five other women at the vanguard of equal rights, who were among the first to receive full degrees from Oxford University.

A group biography of renowned crime novelist Dorothy L. Sayers and the Oxford women who stood at the vanguard of equal rights.

In 1912, Dorothy L. Sayers and five friends founded a writing group at Somerville College, Oxford; they dubbed themselves the 'Mutual Admiration Society.' Brilliant, bold, serious, and funny, these women were also sheltered and chaperoned, barred from receiving degrees despite taking classes and passing exams. But things for women were changing - they gained the right to vote and more access to the job market. And in October 1920, members of the Mutual Admiration Society returned to Oxford to receive full degrees, among the first women to be awarded such honours.

Sayers and her classmates remained lifelong friends and collaborators as they battled for a truly democratic culture that acknowledged their equal humanity. They pushed boundaries in reproductive rights, sexual identity, queer family making, and representations of women in the arts - despite the casual cruelty of sexism that still limited women's choices. Historian Mo Moulton brings these six indomitable women to vivid life, as they navigate the complexities of adulthood, work, intimacy, and sex in Interwar England.

A celebration of feminism and female friendship, MUTUAL ADMIRATION SOCIETY reveals how Sayers and the members of MAS reshaped the social order - and how, together, they fought their way into a new world for women.

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Praise for Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and Her Oxford Circle Remade the World For Women

  • Deeply researched, beautifully written . . . A gorgeous work - whose intense focus on women, their life-sustaining friendships, and their personal and professional desires echoes the very best of Sayers's novels

  • An extraordinary book. . . Beautifully written, animated by a sense of quiet power and amazing ambition, this is essential reading for anyone interested in modern British history

  • In this compelling book, Mo Moulton shows how four women with very different ways of expressing their genders and sexualities inspired and supported one another for decades. This moving account of their individual lives and collective bond is required reading, not only for Dorothy Sayers aficionados, but for anyone interested in queer lives and in the history of friendship

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