Edith Morley (1875-1964) was a scholar and the main 20th century editor of the works of Henry Crabb Robinson. She was the first woman appointed to a chair at an English university-level institution.
Born into a middle-class Victorian family, she hated being a girl, but a forward-thinking home life and a good education enabled her to overcome prejudices and become Professor of English Language at University College, Reading, in 1908. An early feminist with a strong social conscience, she ‘fought… with courage… and passionate sincerity for human rights and freedom.’
Covering the vividly described era of her late Victorian childhood, her student days with the increasing freedoms they brought, the early feminist movement, the growing pains of a new university and, much later, the traumas endured by refugees fleeing Nazi Germany, this absorbing memoir brings alive a very different era, one foundational to the freedoms we enjoy today.
Intended to ‘relate my experiences to the background of my period and to portray incidents in the life of a woman born in the last quarter of the nineteenth century’, Edith Morley’s 1944 memoir, Before and After, was written a few years after retiring as the first female professor at an English university.
- Before and After
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