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By Elizabeth Eger

The dialog events of the bluestockings, held to discuss modern principles in eighteenth-century Britain, have been important in encouraging lady creative fulfillment and selling hyperlinks among studying and advantage within the public mind's eye, inventing a brand new type of casual sociability that mixed the lifetime of the senses with that of the brain. This number of essays, by means of top students within the fields of literature, background and artwork heritage, offers an interdisciplinary therapy of bluestocking tradition in eighteenth-century Britain. it's the first educational quantity to pay attention to the wealthy visible and fabric tradition that surrounded and supported the bluestocking venture, from formal pix and sculptures to commercially reproduced prints. by way of the early 20th century, the time period 'bluestocking' got here to suggest a lifeless and dowdy highbrow girl, however the unique bluestockings inhabited an international during which brilliance was once worth each point and ladies have been inspired to polish or even dazzle.

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Additional info for Bluestockings Displayed: Portraiture, Performance and Patronage, 1730-1830

Sample text

K. Wimsatt in his book The Portraits of Alexander Pope discusses dozens of images and remarks on the immense fame of . . Pope and the importance to him of having an adequate image of himself made public, and his apparently persistent efforts toward that end. Pope was probably the most frequently portrayed English person of his generation, perhaps of the whole eighteenth century. 9 Pope developed relationships with a series of portraitists, and deliberately mounted campaigns associated with specific publications.

But fifty years later Maclise located his bluestockings indoors, in a familiar space, politely seated around an ordinary tea table, Romantic bluestockings: from muses to matrons in contemporary clothes. He insists not only upon their domesticity and their decorum, but also upon their middle-to-upper class status: they are being served by a black boy at the left, a signifier, within the social hierarchies of early Victorian England, of their superior racial and class status. ) Maclise accompanied this group portrait with a series of sketches of the leading male and female intellectuals of the 1830s for the widely read Fraser’s Magazine for Town and Country, a journal that catered to the middle classes.

Janine Barchas has speculated on this act of legerdemain: I think it likely that Pope sacrifices the lesser-known ‘Kirkall’ in order to avoid naming the better-known Vertue and risk tarring himself with the same brush. 10 The point has frequently been made that Pope, the satirical scourge of women writers, nevertheless identifies unusually closely with women elsewhere in his writing. 11 It has been suggested that the social disabilities he suffered as a Roman Catholic from an obscure family gave him an enhanced awareness of prejudices facing women.

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