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The Mutual Admiration Society

The Mutual Admiration Society

How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women

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

Dorothy L. Sayers is now famous for her Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane detective series, but she was equally well known during her life for an essay asking “Are Women Human?” Women’s rights were expanding rapidly during Sayers’s lifetime; she and her friends were some of the first women to receive degrees from Oxford. Yet, as historian Mo Moulton reveals, it was clear from the many professional and personal obstacles they faced that society was not ready to concede that women were indeed fully human.

Dubbing themselves the Mutual Admiration Society, Sayers and her classmates remained lifelong friends and collaborators as they fought for a truly democratic culture that acknowledged their equal humanity. A celebration of feminism and female friendship, The Mutual Admiration Society offers crucial insight into Dorothy L. Sayers and her world.

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Genre: Nonfiction / History / Europe / Great Britain / 20th Century

On Sale: November 5th 2019

Price: $30 / $38 (CAD)

Page Count: 384

ISBN-13: 9781541644472

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

"Moulton, with a keen eye for humorous detail and moments of humanity, deftly captures not only the lives of these women, but the enduring power of female friendship."—Booklist
"Sign me up as an admirer of Mo Moulton's The Mutual Admiration Society, a fresh and invigorating narrative that brings to life a close-knit coterie of brilliant Oxford women. Spanning eight decades and two world wars, Moulton's deeply researched group biography has a message for today -- one about intellectual integrity and the enduring power of a scholarly female community."—Megan Marshall, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Margaret Fuller and Elizabeth Bishop
"If you already know and love the work of Dorothy L. Sayers, Moulton will help you understand her better; if you don't, let this gorgeous work -- whose intense focus on women's humanity, ambitions, and life-sustaining friendships echoes the very best of Sayers's novels -- be part of your introduction."—Nicole Chung, author of All You Can Ever Know
"In this compelling book, Moulton shows how six women inspired and supported one another for decades. This moving account of their 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
"This is an extraordinary book. Vivid and moving, The 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 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 Queer London and professor of cultural history, University of Birmingham
"Beautiful and meticulous. The Mutual Admiration Society is about the collaborative friendships of women who refused to be anonymous. This was always an important story to tell -- but these days, it is vital reading."—Kevin Birmingham, author of The Most Dangerous Book
"Witty and insightful. Tracking lifelong friendships, Moulton reveals how a community of writers and activists transcended the limitations placed upon women in twentieth-century Britain. Their stories are by turns charming and harrowing, revealing how an understanding of women's intimate lives can illuminate the times in which they lived."—Megan Kate Nelson, author of The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West
"Intensely engrossing. Part literary biography, part social history, Mo Moulton's eloquent narrative testifies to the transformative power of creative work."—Laura Doan, author of Disturbing Practices: History, Sexuality, and Women's Experience of Modern War
"A deeply affecting group portrait of a pathbreaking set of female friends who attended Oxford at the dawn of the twentieth century. If you're a fan of Mary McCarthy's The Group, you'll love The Mutual Admiration Society."—Rachel Hope Cleves, professor of history, University of Victoria and author of Charity and Sylvia
"This lively, rigorous, and surprising history 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 You Know You Want This
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