Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

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Oxford University Press, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 680 pages
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This book is the first to look at Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's achievement as a vital figure in the women's literary tradition. Robert Halsband's book on her life, the sixth this century and published in 1956, was the first to apply scholarly techniques to establishing the facts. The inaccurate accounts given before Halsband testify to Lady Mary's compelling interest as a woman who wrote, travelled, campaigned publicly for medical advance, gossiped, and was involved in high-profile literary quarrels. Knowledge of her life has made considerable gains since Halsband, as understanding of the issues involved in trying to move between the roles of proper lady and woman writer has increased enormously. This life fruitfully exploits the tension between literary history and feminist reading. Isobel Grundy highlights Montagu's adolescent longing for literary fame, her growing understanding of the implications of this for gender and class imperatives, the frustrations and concessions involved in her collaborations with male writers, the punitive responses of society, the gaps at every stage of her life between her ascertainable circumstances and her construction of herself in letters and other writings. The book situates those writings in relation to her own theorizing and her very wide reading in women's texts as well as men's. Finally, it looks at a range of contemporary and near-contemporary responses.
 

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Review: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: Comet of the Enlightenment

User Review  - Sherwood Smith - Goodreads

Excellent biography, and fills in some of the speculation about MWM writing some of the pages of Spectator. I have a full run of Spectator, but as it was printed in the late 1700s, it's delicate and must be carefully read. When I do read it, I try to peg which of them wrote what. Read full review

Contents

Roots
1
Marriage Market
30
Elopement
45
Domesticity
57
Loss of Face
99
Overland
117
Adrianople
134
Constantinople
152
Florence Rome Naples
415
Turin and Elsewhere
436
Avignon
456
Gottolengo Lovere
477
Lone Philosopher
505
Escaping Palazzi
532
Venice and Padua
556
Friends and Foes
573

Voyage Home
167
Settling Down
179
Vers de societe
223
Algarotti
356
Leaving
379
Venice
395
Inheriting
592
Back in London
613
FAMILY TREE
629
BIBLIOGRAPHY
631
INDEX
656
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Isobel Grundy is Henry Marshall Tory Professor at the University of Alberta, Canada.

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