Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and Her Oxford Circle Remade the World For Women (Hardback)Mo Moulton (author)
- Coming soon
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.
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Number of pages: 304
Dimensions: 240 x 156 mm
Over the last six months, I've found myself becoming increasingly obsessed with questions of intellectual community: what it is, what it can offer (and what it can't) and how to build it and how to make it last. Mo Moulton's Mutual Admiration Society came along at exactly the right time. This lively, rigorous, and surprising history of Dorothy L. Sayers and her circle is a clear-eyed, optimistic look at a particularly critical stage in the evolution of feminism. It offers both a fresh look at the past and real insight into the ways we might collectively shape a better future. * Kristen Roupenian, author of Cat Person And Other Stories *
This is the book I have wanted to read since Gaudy Night. I would have been pleased beyond measure had it been merely a thoughtful biographical treatment of Dorothy L. Sayers, who has long been one of my favorite writers. But Mo Moulton offers us much, much more than that in their deeply researched, beautifully written Mutual Admiration Society, which explores the brilliant scholar and mystery author's life and pursuits alongside those of her closest collaborators - onetime classmates and lifelong confidants who shared Sayers's passionate faith in women, their ambitions, and their humanity. If you already know and love the work of Dorothy L. Sayers, Moulton will help you understand her better as you read about the novelist in her element; if you don't know Sayers yet, let this 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 - be part of your introduction. -- Nicole Chung, author of All You Can Ever Know
This is an extraordinary book. Vivid and moving, Mutual Admiration Society is a compelling history of the intimacies forged by the remarkable circle of women around Dorothy L. Sayers, and the productive relationship between love and friendship and intellectual and professional labor. It is much more than this, though: as an intimate history of British society and culture in the first decades of the twentieth century, Mutual Admiration Society makes us think again about how - in private as much in public - modern Britain was made (and remade) through the creative work of such women. Beautifully written, animated by a sense of quiet power and amazing ambition, this is essential reading for anyone interested in modern British history -- Matt Houlbrook, author of Prince of Tricksters and professor of Cultural History, University of Birmingham
An author of detective fiction who also translated Dante. A pioneering historian of everyday life. A beloved teacher who directed amateur theater. A birth control advocate and purveyor of pregnancy and parenting advice. 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. -- Sharon Marcus, author of The Drama of Celebrity, editor in chief of Public Books, and Orlando Harriman professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University