New Book | Bluestockings Displayed

Posted in books by Mattie Koppendrayer on August 6, 2014

From Cambridge UP:

Elizabeth Eger, ed., Bluestockings Displayed: Portraiture, Performance and Patronage, 1730–1830 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 323 pages, ISBN: 978-0521768801, £60.

coverThe 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.

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

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊


Introduction, Elizabeth Eger

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

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

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


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