Brilliant Women: 18th-Century Bluestockings

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9780300141030: Brilliant Women: 18th-Century Bluestockings

From Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Germaine Greer, influential women have lamented their lack of foremothers. But why has the remarkable group of creative and intellectual women who flourished in eighteenth-century Britain been overlooked? Publicly celebrated in their time, these women's achievements in the worlds of art, literature and even political thought came to symbolize the progress of a civilized and commercial nation. This book introduces us to the 'Bluestocking' salon, where like-minded men and women met from the 1750s onwards to debate contemporary ideas and promote the life of the mind. The authors explore the identity of these brilliant bluestocking women and show how they used myth and tradition to strengthen their public image. For example, the allegory of the muses appealed to women, who saw the benefits of sociability, creative exchange and collaboration. At the end of the eighteenth century, in the aftermath of the American and French revolutions, the political climate changed, introducing new limits on female intellectual and personal liberties. The lives of three key figures illustrate the changing climate of opinion: the radical historian Catharine Macaulay (1731-91) and egalitarian author Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-97) fell from grace with charges of moral and sexual license, while the evangelical Hannah More (1745-1843) became the acceptable face of bluestocking culture. Once again, openly intelligent women were viewed with suspicion and 'bluestocking', so recently a mark of distinction, became a term of abuse and ridicule. With portraits, prints, caricatures, personal artefacts and a fascinating narrative, the authors reveal the extraordinary vigour of the bluestockings and their culture.

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About the Author:

Elizabeth Eger teaches English Literature at King's College London. She is currently completing a book Living Muses: Women of Reason from Enlightenment to Romanticism. Her previous books, as co-editor and contributor, include Luxury in the Eighteenth Century: Debates, Desires and Delectable Goods (2003) and Women, Writing and the Public Sphere, 1700-1830 (2001). Lucy Peltz is 18th-Century Curator at the National Portrait Gallery.

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Book Description Yale University Press, United States, 2008. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 244 x 193 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. During the 18th century a remarkable group of women formed the Bluestocking Salon, where women and men met to debate contemporary ideas and promote the life of the mind. Together, these cultural innovators helped forge new roles for women as influential thinkers, writers, and artists, and their creative achievements were publicly celebrated. Richly illustrated with portraits, prints, and personal artifacts, Brilliant Women tells the story of this fascinating group of women. The authors chart the changing fortunes of the female intellectual and explore how a number of bluestocking women, such as artist Angelica Kauffmann, historian Catharine Macaulay, and early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, used portraiture to advance their work and their reputations in a period framed by the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Brilliant Women pays tribute to the friendships and achievements of these bluestocking women, presenting new information on the range of cultural activities in which they were engaged, as well as celebrating their legacy. Bookseller Inventory # BZV9780300141030

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