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Bluestockings Displayed
Portraiture, Performance and Patronage, 1730–1830


Elizabeth Eger, Anne Mellor, Emma Clery, Clare Barlow, Alison Yarrington, Devoney Looser, Joseph Roach, Susan Staves, Shearer West, Felicity A. Nussbaum, Markman Ellis, Clarissa Campbell Orr, Harriet Guest
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  • Date Published: September 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316619728

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About the Authors
  • The conversation parties of the bluestockings, held to debate contemporary ideas in eighteenth-century Britain, were vital in encouraging female artistic achievement. The bluestockings promoted links between learning and virtue in the public imagination, inventing a new kind of informal sociability that combined the life of the senses with that of the mind. This collection of essays, by leading scholars in the fields of literature, history and art history, provides an interdisciplinary treatment of bluestocking culture in eighteenth-century Britain. It is the first academic volume to concentrate on the rich visual and material culture that surrounded and supported the bluestocking project, from formal portraits and sculptures to commercially reproduced prints. By the early twentieth century, the term 'bluestocking' came to signify a dull and dowdy intellectual woman, but the original bluestockings inhabited a world in which brilliance was valued at every level and women were encouraged to shine and even dazzle.

    • An attractive volume offering over 60 high-quality illustrations
    • Comprehensively covers a range of areas, encompassing art history, literature, history and women's studies
    • Offers a fresh overview of the cultural work of eighteenth-century women, shedding new light on women sculptors, painters and actresses
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Eger's collection is a very welcome contribution that will stimulate further thought around the subject and encourage more research from this perspective to locate broader networks of Bluestockings and answer wider ranging questions about the development of women and society more generally.' Jackie Collier, Early Modern Women Journal

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316619728
    • length: 326 pages
    • dimensions: 245 x 170 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.58kg
    • contains: 60 b/w illus. 3 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Elizabeth Eger
    Part I. Portraits:
    1. Romantic bluestockings: from muses to matrons Anne Mellor
    2. 'To dazzle let the vain design': Alexander Pope's portrait gallery, or, the impossibility of brilliant women Emma Clery
    3. Virtue, patriotism and female scholarship in bluestocking portraiture Clare Barlow
    4. Anne Seymour Damer: a sculptor of 'republican perfection' Alison Yarrington
    5. The blues gone grey: portraits of bluestocking women in old age Devoney Looser
    Part II. Performance:
    6. Sacred love: Eliza Linley's voice Joseph Roach
    7. The learned female soprano Susan Staves
    8. Roles and role models: Montagu, Siddons, Lady Macbeth Shearer West
    9. Hester Thrale: 'what trace of the wit?' Felicity A. Nussbaum
    Part III. Patronage and Networks:
    10. Reading practices in Elizabeth Montagu's epistolary network of the 1750s Markman Ellis
    11. The queen of the blues, the bluestocking queen, and bluestocking masculinity Clarissa Campbell Orr
    12. Luck be a lady: patronage and professionalism for women writers in the 1790s Harriet Guest.

  • Editor

    Elizabeth Eger, King's College London
    Elizabeth Eger is Reader in Eighteenth-Century Literature at King's College London.


    Elizabeth Eger, Anne Mellor, Emma Clery, Clare Barlow, Alison Yarrington, Devoney Looser, Joseph Roach, Susan Staves, Shearer West, Felicity A. Nussbaum, Markman Ellis, Clarissa Campbell Orr, Harriet Guest

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