The Oxford Days: 1889–93

Suparna Gooptu

in Cornelia Sorabji

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780195678345
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080380 | DOI:
The Oxford Days: 1889–93

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This chapter first addresses the entry of women into higher education and professions in England. It specifically deals with Cornelia Sorabji in Somerville Hall, Oxford. When she joined Somerville Hall, she was not sure what course she would pursue. Her Oxford experience proved to be crucial in making her what she was to become. She also did become the first woman to study for the BCL at Oxford, a major landmark in the history of women's entry into higher education. Oxford treated Cornelia as an ‘exception’. She had the privilege of being inducted into the Oxford elite circle from her initial days at the university, and she took pride in this fact. The patronage that Cornelia received at Oxford was largely because of its multiple involvements with the sustenance of the Empire. Moreover, her response to the male bias in Oxford is revealed. Additionally, it covers the new Toryism, authoritarian liberalism and faith in the Empire. Once Cornelia had completed her studies in Oxford, life appeared to be more difficult than she expected.

Keywords: Cornelia Sorabji; Oxford; Somerville Hall; Toryism; authoritarian liberalism; Empire; higher education

Chapter.  13630 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literature

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