Bluestockings Now!: The Evolution of a Social Role, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Bluestockings Now!

The Evolution of a Social Role, 1st Edition

Edited by Deborah Heller


254 pages

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Hardback: 9781409434665
pub: 2015-03-28
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Bringing together top specialists in the field, this edited volume challenges the theory that the eighteenth-century British intellectual women known as the Bluestockings were an isolated phenomenon spanning the period from the 1750s through the 1790s. On the contrary, the contributors suggest, the Bluestockings can be conceptualized as belonging to a chain of interconnected networks, taking their origin at a threshold moment in print media and communications development and extending into the present. The collection begins with a definition of the Bluestockings as a social role rather than a fixed group, a movement rather than a static phenomenon, an evolving dynamic reaching into our late-modern era. Essays include a rare transcript of a Bluestocking conversation; new, previously unknown Bluestockings brought to light for the first time; and descriptions of Bluestocking activity in the realms of natural history, arts and crafts, theatre, industry, travel, and international connections. The concluding essay argues that the Blues reimagined and practiced women’s work in ways that adapted to and altered the course of modernity, decisively putting a female imprint on economic, social, and cultural modernization. Demonstrating how the role of the Bluestocking has evolved through different historical configurations yet has structurally remained the same, the collection traces the influence of the Blues on the Romantic Period through the nineteenth century and proposes the reinvention of Bluestocking practice in the present.


"In his useful survey of "bluestocking work" across the long eighteenth century in Bluestockings Now! Kelly differentiates between the Montagu circle and the lesser-known female intellectuals he brings to light by the use of a capital B for the former." - Caroline Franklin, Swansea University, Wales, UK

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction, Deborah Heller; A Copernican shift: or, remapping the Bluestocking heavens, Deborah and Steven Heller; Bluestockings and the cultures of natural history, Beth Fowkes Tobin; Cosmopolitan Bluestockings, Nicole Pohl; The Sappho of Gloucestershire: Sarah Chapone and Christian feminism, Clarissa Campbell Orr; John Burrows, Bluestocking Boswell, William McCarthy; ’Thrale’s entire’: Hester Lynch Thrale and the Anchor brewery, Michael J. Franklin; Hester Thrale Piozzi, the Bas Bleu, and the theatre, Felicity A. Nussbaum; Sisters across the centuries: Hannah More and Grace Irwin, Patricia Demers; Bluestocking work: learning, literature, and lore in the onset of modernity, Gary Kelly; Bibliography; Index.

About the Editor

Deborah Heller is Professor of English at Western New Mexico University, USA.

About the Series

British Literature in Context in the Long Eighteenth Century

British Literature in the Eighteenth Century
This series aims to promote original scholarship on the intersection of British literature and history in the long eighteenth century, from the Restoration through the first generation of the Romantic era. Both "literature" and "history" are broadly conceived. Literature might include not only canonical novels, poems, and plays but also essays, life-writing, and belles lettres of all sorts, by both major and minor authors. History might include not only traditional political and social history but also the history of the book, the history of science, the history of religion, the history of scholarship, and the history of sexuality, as well as broader questions of historiography and periodization. The series editors invite proposals for both monographs and collections taking a wide range of approaches. Contributions may be interdisciplinary but should be grounded in sound historical research. All manuscripts should be written so as to be accessible to a wide audience while also making lasting contributions to the field.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Semiotics & Theory