chapter  13
Pages 9

John Seeley, Regius Professor of History, once commented that ‘Cambridge is like a country invaded by the Sphinx’.1 If a Regius Professor found the university a monstrous creature, whose gnomic utterances were hard to decipher, it is easy to imagine how the women, excluded from any governance of the university, felt as they attempted to understand it, infiltrate it and ultimately to subvert its homosocial and sometimes misogynist atmosphere. Such was the extreme nervousness of Emily Davies, for example, that she forbade the early Hitchin students to act a few Shakespearian scenes, arguing that cross-dressing could bring down a scandal on their heads which would ruin her attempts to forge a connection for her women’s college with the university.2