Bluestocking Feminism: Writings of the Bluestocking Circle, 1738-90

Bluestocking Feminism: Writings of the Bluestocking Circle, 1738-90

Hardback

General editor Gary Kelly, Volume editor Elizabeth Eger, Volume editor Judith Hawley, Volume editor Gary Kelly, Volume editor Jennifer Kelly, Volume editor Rhoda Zuk

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  • Publisher: Pickering & Chatto (Publishers) Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 2424 pages
  • Dimensions: 255mm x 320mm x 112mm | 4,441g
  • Publication date: 1 October 1999
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1851965149
  • ISBN 13: 9781851965144

Product description

Feminist scholarship and criticism has retrieved the Bluestocking women from their marginal position in 18th-century literature. This work collects the principal writings of these women, together with a selection of their letters. Each volume is annotated and all texts are edited and reset.

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Review quote

'Pickering & Chatto are offering, to their credit, the best editions yet produced of Carter, Montagu and Talbot, and provocative recastings of the achievements of Seward, Reeve and Scott.' Times Literary Supplement

Table of contents

Volume 1 Elizabeth Montagu: An Essay on the writings and Genius of Shakespear - compared with the Greek and French dramatic Poets (1769); Dialogues with the Dead (1760); Selected Letters. Elizabeth Montagu was famous in her lifetime as a letter-writer, Shakespeare critic and patron of the arts. Known as the 'Queen of the Blues', she hosted regular parties attended by the most celebrated writers of the day, among them Johnson, Burke and Hume. She was sister of Sarah Scott, the novelist and historian, and a life-long friend of Elizabeth Carter. A keen promoter of the idea of the intellectual female as a morally serious and useful member of society, she invested much of her fortune in cultural patronage and granted several female writers annuities. Volume 2 Elizabeth Carter: All the Works of Epictetus (1758); Essays from Rambler, no. 44 & 100; Selected Letters and Poetry Elizabeth Carter, poet, translator, essayist and letter-writer, was undoubtedly the most learned of the Bluestockings. Considered something of a prodigy, she lived an independent life in London in the 1730s, contributing poetry to the influential Gentleman's Magazine and forming connections with Johnson and Richardson among others. Her ground-breaking translation of Epictetus earned her - apart from financial security - many admirers, including Elizabeth Montagu. The Stoical philosophy of Epictetus formed a vital part of the Bluestockings' political and moral thinking and arguably underpins Carter's conservatism and retreat from the competitive world of publishing. Volume 3 Hester Chapone: Letters on the Improvement of the Mind (1733); Advice to a New Married Lady (1777); Letters on Filial Obedience; Selected Poems, Essays & Letters; Catherine Talbot: Reflections on the Seven Days of the Week (1770); A Fairy Tale, Selected Poems, Essays & Letters. Dubbed 'the little spitfire' by Samuel Richardson, Hester Mulso Chapone published letters, tales and poetry encouraging women to develop their rational potential. The success of Letters on the Improvement of the Mind was such that it ran into 25 editions. Catherine Talbot was commonly known in literary society as 'the learned Miss Talbot' although she chose to publish little during her lifetime. Her letters to Elizabeth Carter concerning women's social position gained particular recognition for their wit, passion and clarity. Volume 4 Anna Seward: Selected Poems, including Elegy on Captain Cook, Monody on the Death of Major Andre, Llangollen Vale and the poetical novel Louisa; Selected Letters. Anna Seward, a leading woman poet of her day, is generally associated with the culture of sensibility. Yet she was also closely associated with key figures of the Midlands Enlightenment, as her work, both poetry and prose, reflects. She grew up in Lichfield, one of the major provincial literary centres in the later eighteenth-century, in a family much involved in the literary circles of Samuel Johnson, Thomas Day and Richard Lovell Edgeworth. Her letters, some of which were intended for publication, cover a wide range of topics in literature, music and religion, social criticism and the leading events of her time. Volumes 5 and 6 Sarah Scott: A Journey through Every Stage of Life (1754); The Test of Filial Duty; in a Series of Letters, 1772 (1757); Clara Reeve: The Progress of Romance (1785) Sarah Scott, sister of Elizabeth Montagu, was the leading fiction writer of the first-generation Bluestocking circle and also, if one includes her works of history, the most prolific. Her novels are distinctive, and the two novels presented here are original, lively and engaging representations of the same feminist issues that Scott presented in her utopian novel of 1762, Millenium Hall. Clara Reeve was a prolific novelist and critic. The Progress of Romance was a major work of literary history and the leading defence of women's reading in the eighteenth-century.