Bluestockings: women of reason from Enlightenment to Romanticism

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Palgrave Macmillan, 2010 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 275 pages
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Bluestockings: Women of Reason from Enlightenment to Romanticism explores the cultural history of women's literary and intellectual activity in Britain between 1750 and 1812. Richard Samuel's painting, The Nine Living Muses of Great Britain (1779), forms the starting point and guiding motif of the book. Samuel depicted Elizabeth Montagu, Elizabeth Griffith, Elizabeth Carter, Charlotte Lennox, Elizabeth Linley, Angelica Kauffman, Catharine Macauley, Anna Barbauld and Hannah More. Together these women formed an important network of artists and intellectuals, who contributed to the central cultural transformations of their time. Women forged a sense of community through their innovative use of patronage, conversation and correspondence. In the bluestocking salon these arts were developed to new levels of moral significance and provided the basis for women's involvement with the formal literary genres of their time, including Shakespearean criticism and poetry. This book highlights women's role in shaping an evolving national canon of literature. It also considers how the cultural anxiety caused by their very success in the public sphere of letters caused a new generation of male Romantics to displace women from their position of power.

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the Female Icon
Patronage Correspondence
Women Critics of Shakespeare

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About the author (2010)

\ELIZABETH EGER is a Lecturer in English at Kings College London, UK. She recently co-curated an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, 'Brilliant Women: 18th century bluestockings.' She has also published widely in the field, including articles on the topics of luxury, the public sphere and eighteenth-century actresses.