Elizabeth Montagu
and the Bluestocking Circle
         is Funded by the AHRC


Clare Barlow completed her PhD, title 'Women Writers in the Public Eye: Virtue, Patriotism and Publication, 1738-1790" at King's College London in 2010.  This project was collaborative with the National Portrait Gallery, where she assisted with the 2008 exhibition "Brilliant Women: 18th Century Bluestockings".  She is currently working as an intern at Dr Johnson's House in London, where she is putting together a single-case display on Elizabeth Carter.

Melanie Bigold now  lectures on the long eighteenth century in Cardiff university, and previously held lecturing posts at St. Anne’s and Jesus Colleges (Oxford) and the University of Toronto. Her publications include a chapter on ‘Letters and learning’ in Ros Ballaster (ed.), A History of British Women’s Writing: Volume 4, 1690-1750 (forthcoming from Palgrave).Disembodied Slavery and Benevolent Patronage: Rehearsing Utopian Models of Governance in Sarah Scott’s The History of Sir George Ellison 

Jessica Cook (University of South Florida) I am currently in my second year of doctoral work at the University of South Florida, where I am focusing on eighteenth-century British Literature as my course of study. After completing my remaining coursework this spring, I plan to take my comprehensive exams in the fall in three areas: eighteenth-century British Literature, nineteenth-century British literature (emphasis on Victorian literature), and ecocritical literary theory. I currently work as a research assistant to Dr. Laura Runge, Professor of English and Director of Graduate Studies at USF. The last conference I attended was the Southeastern American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on 3-5 March 2011. The paper I presented, “Venturing on the Future: Female Perspectives on Courtship and Marriage on the Eighteenth-Century Stage,” at was awarded the Graduate Student Essay Prize.

Clarissa Campbell Orr is a Reader in Enlightenment Gender and Court Studies at Anglia Ruskin University.  She was previously a member of the Feminism and Enlightenment Network and contributed a chapter, “Aristocratic Feminism, the Learned Governess, and the Republic of Letters”,  to its publication, Women Gender and Enlightenment edited by Sarah Knott and Barbara Taylor,  Palgrave, 2005.She is currently writing a biography for Yale University Press of the courtier, naturalist, artist, and proto-Bluestocking, Mary Granville Delany, (1700-1788), and in the longer term writing a study of Queen Charlotte which will include evaluating her role as Bluestocking queen. She has a chapter ‘The Queen of the Blues, the Bluestocking Queen, and Bluestocking masculinity’ in Elizabeth Eger’s forthcoming collection, in Bluestockings Displayed: Portraiture, Performance and Patronage, 1730-1830 (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and has co-edited a collection of essays with Nigel Aston, An Enlightenment Statesman in Whig Britain: Lord Shelburne (1737-1805) in Context, (Boydell Press September 2011). She has also contributed to the catalogue of the exhibition on Johan Zoffany which will open in October at the Yale Centre for British Art and come to the Royal Academy in February 2012.

Norma Clarke (Kingston)  is Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University. Her research interests are in eighteenth-century women's writing, children's literature, and biography. Her books include Dr Johnson's Women, The Rise and Fall of the Woman of Letters, and, most recently, Queen of the Wits: a Life of Laetitia Pilkington. She is a published author of children's fiction and reviews regularly for the TLS and other journals. She is currently writing a book on children's literature and is editing an edition of an eighteenth-century memoir, The Adventures of Jack Luckless, by John Carteret Pilkington.

Sophie Colombeau (York) is an AHRC-funded first year PhD student at the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of York. Her supervisor is Professor Harriet Guest. Her prospective dissertation will focus on the political nature of symbols of posterity and collective memory in British literature from 1782 to 1814, concentrating especially on the writing of Frances Burney, William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft and Hester Thrale Piozzi.
Dr Julie Donovan (George Washington Univerrsity) My research interests revolve around women's writing of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in particular the work of Irish authors, such as Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan), who became the main focus of my Ph.D. dissertation and the subject of my monograph, Sydney Owenson, Lady Morgan and the Politics of Style, which was published by Academica Press in 2009. I have also published essays on Walter Scott, Catherine Rebecca Gray, Lady Manners, and Charlotte Nooth. I am currently working on the life and works of Adelaide O'Keefe.

Markman Ellis (Queen Mary): his research concerns eighteenth-century literature and culture in English. His first book was a study of political controversy in sentimental novels, entitled The Politics of Sensibility (Cambridge University Press, 1996, now in paperback), which developed an argument about the feminisation of culture in eighteenth-century Britain. He has also published The History of Gothic Fiction (Edinburgh University Press, 2000); and co-edited Discourses of Slavery and Abolition (Palgrave, 2004). He published a monograph entitled The Coffee-House: a Cultural History (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) in 2004, which focussed on the representation of the coffee-house in the period 1650-1750. The research for this book formed the basis of a four-volume facsimile edition of coffee-house satires (1657-1780) for Pickering and Chatto entitled Eighteenth-Century Coffee House Culture (2006). He was general editor of the Queen Mary Tea Project, which produced a four volume edition of texts on tea and its cultures entitled Tea and the Tea-Table in Eighteenth-Century England (Pickering and Chatto, 2010) Other topics within eighteenth-century studies that he has addressed in articles and chapters include: panoramas and 1790s spectacle in London; natural history and museums; georgic poetry and ideas of empire; travel writing and the rhetoric of wonder; slavery and sensibility. His current research is a project on what it means to be a critic in the early eighteenth century, entitled The Social Space of Criticism.

Moyra Haslett is Senior Lecturer in the School of English, Queen’s University Belfast and author of Byron’s Don Juan and the Don Juan Legend (Clarendon, 1997), Marxist literary and cultural theories (Macmillan, 1999) and Pope to Burney, Scriblerians to Bluestockings (Palgrave, 2003). More recently, she has published articles on friendships between women and on literary representations of the bluestockings as part of a larger project on ideas of female community in the long eighteenth century:  ‘The Love of Friendship’ in Ros Ballaster (ed.), The History of British Women’s Writing, 1690-1750 (Palgrave, 2010); ‘Becoming Bluestockings: Contextualising Hannah More’s “The Bas Bleu”’, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 33.1 (2010): 89-114; and ‘Bluestocking Feminism Revisited; The Satirical Figure of the Bluestocking’, Women’s Writing, 17. 3 (2010): 458-77. She is also one of the general editors of the ‘Early Irish Fiction, 1680-1820’ series and has completed a critical edition of Thomas Amory’s The Life of John Buncle, Esq (1756; Four Courts Press, 2011) for this series. With its various learned ladies and female communities, John Buncle links these otherwise largely diverse interests in female communities and Irish fiction.

Melanie Hinton is a doctoral candidate at the University of Utah and a humanities instructor at Dixie State College of Utah. Her research and writing primarily focuses on the work of eighteenth-century female authors Fanny Burney, Charlotte Lennox, Elizabeth Montagu, Sarah Scott and Sarah Fielding. She is interested in the supernatural elements of their work. Currently, she is working on her doctoral dissertation, where she contends that these female-authored “supernatural” texts do something different than strictly utopian or gothic texts, both revealing those genres’ visions of female empowerment as mythic or insubstantial and displacing such fantasies with a unified national identity that affords a limited but significant female empowerment in the British family.

Rebecka Gronstedt; I am in the fourth year of my PhD, entitled ‘The Rise of the Female Critic in the Long Eighteenth Century’. My research focuses on theatre criticism authored by Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood and Charlotte Lennox and argues that women were at the outset of the emergence of the professional critic; hence they did not practice criticism after a tradition of criticism had been established but were involved in the very establishment of that tradition. In a forthcoming article I explore how Aphra Behn has to negotiate competing aesthetic and commercial values in her theatre criticism: “Aphra Behn and the Conflict between Creative and Critical Writing,” Aphra Behn and Her Female Successors: proceedings of the fourth conference by the society ‘Aphra Behn Europe’, 8th-10th July, 2010. Vienna and London: Lit-Verlag. I am also interested in the eighteenth-century female reader and her use of critical and analytical reading practices.

Amy Prendergast studied English and French at NUI Galway where she gained a first class honours degree in 2007 as well as receiving a French Government Medal and NUI prize for proficiency in French. She then went on to complete an MA in Modern Literary Studies at Queen’s University Belfast in 2008 with a dissertation entitled “Bluestockings as Bas Bleu: The Interaction between the French and English salons in the Eighteenth Century.” She is currently a recipient of a PRTLI Government of Ireland scholarship and is pursuing her research as part of the multidisciplinary Texts, Contexts and Cultures PhD programme at Trinity College Dublin, where she is supervised by Prof. Ian Campbell Ross. Her work focuses on the emulation of the French salon by hostesses in Ireland and England with a particular emphasis on the salons held by Lady Moira and Elizabeth Vesey. Amy has presented widely on her topic, having spoken at numerous conferences, including at Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Limerick and the University of Aberdeen.

Gillian Russell Research Interests: British Eighteenth-century and Romantic studies, focussing on theatre, gender,sociability and public culture, Jane Austen.
Current Research Projects:
‘A History of the Theatre in Late Georgian Britain: Spaces, Sociability, and Cultural
Networks (funded by the ARC)
Some recent publications: Women, Sociability and Theatre in Georgian Britain (Cambridge University Press,2007) and Romantic Sociability: Social Networks and Literary Culture in Britain, 1770-1840(co-ed with Clara Tuite) (Cambridge University Press, 2002)

Anni Sairio published in: 2009. Language and Letters of the Bluestocking Network. Sociolinguistic Issues in Eighteenth-century Epistolary English. (Mémoires de la Société Néophilologique de Helsinki 75). Helsinki: Société Néophilologique. (Doctoral thesis). I’m working on a lingual biography of the Bluestocking author, social hostess, and businesswoman Elizabeth Montagu (1718-1800), set within social, linguistic and literary realities of Georgian England. My aim is to discuss Montagu’s language use in different phases of her life and with regard to varying levels of social prominence, from her youth to her older years, in various contexts from family interaction to public discourse, and with a particular focus on the concept of identity. For my PhD dissertation (completed in 2009) I analysed Elizabeth Montagu’s social networks, especially with regard to her membership in the Bluestocking circle, and carried out a set of linguistic studies which investigated the influence of social networks, sociolinguistic variables, and eighteenth-century normative tradition in the epistolary language use of that group. My post-doctoral research explores constructions and representations of identity / identities in Elizabeth Montagu's private and public writing, and, in order to get a perception of how she was presented by others, in texts of other writers. I am interested in the impact of the normative tradition and language standardization, the social aspects of spelling variation, and anonymous writing and publishing in the eighteenth century. I have edited some 200 letters of Montagu’s correspondence for my research, and currently my material covers the years 1738 to 1778. I'm planning to extend it towards the end of the 18th century.

Betty Schellenberg is Professor of English and Department Chair at Simon Fraser University, where she is one of the founding members of the Print Culture Studies group.  She has published The Conversational Circle: Rereading the English Novel, 1740-1775 (1995); Part Two: Reflections on the Sequel (1998, co-edited with Paul Budra), Reconsidering the Bluestockings (2003, co-edited with Nicole Pohl); and The Professionalization of Women Writers in Eighteenth-Century Britain (2005). She is currently completing her edition of a volume of The Cambridge Edition of the Correspondence of Samuel Richardson and is looking forward to turning her attention to a book-in-progress on the interface of manuscript practices and print in the mid-eighteenth century. Her work on media collaboration and contention in domestic travel writing, Bluestocking networks, and other literary circles of the 1750s has appeared recently in Eighteenth-Century Studies, The History of British Women’s Writing, 1750-1830 (ed. Jacqueline Labbé), and Bookish Histories (ed. Ina Ferris and Paul Keen). Drawing on this work, she will reflect in “Media Cultures and the Invention of the Bluestockings” on how the familiar narrative of the “rise and fall” of the Bluestockings might be read through the shifting equilibrium of media in the British literary world of 1745-1785.Gary Kelly is Distinguished University Professor, University of Alberta. He teaches in English and in Comparative Literature. He has published books on Romantic fiction and women’s writing of Revolution and Romanticism, and editions of Bluestocking feminism, the Female Gothic, Newgate literature, Wollstonecraft, Hemans, Sarah Scott, and Lydia Sigourney. He is the General Editor of the Oxford History of Popular Print Culture, which is just starting to appear, with volumes on Britain to 1660 (edited by Joad Raymond) and the USA from the Civil War to World War I (edited by Christine Bold). He has just completed essays on the popular novel in Britain 1780-1820, Wollstonecraft and the 1790s novel, “folk poets” and the scandal of Canadian Literature, and contributions to the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Romanticism. He is finishing a book on Popular Romanticism and working on the topics Women, Learning, and Lore in Romantic Britain; Romantic Chronotopes; and Romantic Apocalypse: Reading the Course of Time. With colleagues, he is organizing an international research project on proletarian literature and arts, principally the 1920s to 1940s, but also beyond. He will be a Leverhulme Visiting Professor at Newcastle University in 2011-12.

Joanna Wharton; I am a first year PhD student at the University of York’s Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies. completed my first degree in English and Philosophy at the University of Leeds, before coming to York for a Masters in Romantic and Sentimental Literature. My research interests span issues relating to gender, the body, education and science in eighteenth-century British literature. I am particularly interested in how popular conceptions of the nature of mind shifted in the period, and in the ways in which these shifts are reflected in women’s writing.
My research focuses on women writers and the science of mind in the late eighteenth century. More specifically, I aim to reveal how embodied accounts of the mind were of fundamental importance to radical writers such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Hays and Anna Letitia Barbauld. While nerve-based psychologies have often been considered within the wider theme of sensibility as naturalizing female subordination, my research suggests that embodied theories of mind also enabled women writers to challenge the restrictions of their education, and to reconceptualize their participation in public life. I am currently researching materiality and dissenting theories of education in the poetry and prose of Anna Letitia Barbauld.

Susanne Schmid; Guest professor (Universitaet Greifswald), has taught at the universities Salford, FU Berlin, Frankfurt, Princeton, Paderborn, Regensburg, Mainz, Erfurt, Saarbrücken, and Bochum. She has written three books, Jungfrau und Monster /Maiden and Monster (about contemporary women writers and myth, ESV, 1996), Byron Shelley, Keats: Ein biographisches Lesebuch (about Romantic lives, dtv, 1999), and Shelley's German Afterlives 1814 – 2000 (Palgrave, 2007), which received the Helene Richter Award in 2008. She co-edited, together with Michael Rossington, The Reception of P.B. Shelley in Europe (Continuum, 2008) as well as Einsamkeit und Geselligkeit um 1800 / Loneliness and Sociability Around 1800 (Winter, 2008). Among her interests are eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature and culture, sociability, coffee as well as other beverages, book history, travelling women, and all things Romantic. She is currently working on a book-length study on British Literary Salons of the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries (contracted by Palgrave), which focuses on several women, among them Mary Berry (see paper proposal). She has published a number of articles about women's sociability in The Wordsworth Circle and as chapters of edited books. She has also written about drink culture and sociability and, together with Barbara Schmidt-Haberkamp, is preparing a collection of essays about drink in the Anglophone world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Julie Donovan; My research interests revolve around women's writing of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in particular the work of Irish authors, such as Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan), who became the main focus of my Ph.D. dissertation and the subject of my monograph, Sydney Owenson, Lady Morgan and the Politics of Style, which was published by Academica Press in 2009. I have also published essays on Walter Scott, Catherine Rebecca Gray, Lady Manners, and Charlotte Nooth. I am currently working on the life and works of Adelaide O'Keefe.





























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Bluestocking Circle

The Bluestocking Circle was a group of writers, artists and thinkers who met in the London homes of Elizabeth Montagu, Elizabeth Vesey and Frances Boscawen. These fashionable hostesses invented a new kind of informal sociability and nurtured a sense of intellectual community. The term "bluestocking" evolved from the scholar Benjamin Stillingfleet's decision to abandon formal evening dress and obey Vesey's call to "Come in your blue stockings." Guests included the leading literary, political and cultural figures of the day, including Elizabeth Carter, Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, David and Eva Garrick and later Hannah More and Frances Burney.

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