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Dangerous by Degrees (Paperback)

Susan J. Leonardi

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ISBN 10: 0813513669 / ISBN 13: 9780813513669
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Paperback. In 1921, forty-one years after the opening of Somerville and Lady Margaret Hall, the first women's colleges at Oxford, the University finally granted degrees to women. The heated debate le.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 264 pages. 0.363. Bookseller Inventory # 9780813513669

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Title: Dangerous by Degrees (Paperback)

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:New

Edition: 0004th.

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In 1921, forty-one years after the opening of Somerville and Lady Margaret Hall, the first women's colleges at Oxford, the University finally granted degrees to women. The heated debate leading up to this historic step brought to light male Oxford's fears about the women in their midst. In response to these anxieties, the women's colleges were forced to engage in a delicate balancing act - fulfilling their mission to provide women with the same education available to men and, at the same time, presenting to their public a face and a rhetoric that did not appear to challenge traditional gender ideology.

Dangerous by Degrees vividly describes and analyzes women's experience at Oxford shortly before and after the First World War. The Somerville experience, in its simultaneous rejection and embrace of women's traditional place, stands as a prototype of the ambivalent, confusing, and conflicted stories which the owmen who lived that experience subsequently tell in their fictions. Dorothy L. Sayers, Muriel Jaeger, Doreen Wallace, Margaret Kennedy, Winifred Holtby, and Vera Brittain - all students at Somerville between 1912 and 1922 - attempted to insert this new species, the woman with an Oxford degree, into their novels. Susan J. Leonardi devotes chapters to each of these novelists and examines the ways their fictions attempt, with varying degrees of success, to accommodate this new and discordant figure of the educated woman. Such strategies as Sayers's remaking of the popular genre of detective fiction, Jaeger's use of parable, Kennedy's indirect narrative, and Holtby's systematic elimination of men from her texts must be read, Leonardi argues, in the context of these women's attempts to reconcile traditional literary and ideological plots with a figure whose very existence and epxerience has the power to call them into question and the potential to usurp them. Leonardi, a novelist herself, deftly and sensitively traces these conflicts and analyzes these writers' attempts to resolve them. In so doing, she also provides a lively and detailed picture of the effects of social change on one group of women writers.

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