Our goal is to prepare a fully annotated electronic edition of Elizabeth Robinson Montagu's correspondence. The author and bluestocking salonnière (1718-1800) was the leading woman of letters and artistic patron of her day. Montagu corresponded extensively with leaders of British Enlightenment coteries, such as Edmund Burke, Gilbert West, David Garrick and Horace Walpole, as well as the Bluestocking inner circle - Elizabeth Carter, Sarah Scott, Hannah More, Hester Thrale Piozzi, Frances Burney, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Elizabeth Vesey, and Frances Boscawen. The c.8,000 extant letters, 'among the most important surviving collections from the eighteenth century' (Schnorrenberg) are held in the British Library, the Bodleian, Aberdeen, Manchester and other archives including the Huntington Library, California, which holds 6,923 of them. Less than a quarter of these documents has been previously published and then in partial archaic print selections.
- To preserve the fragile papers by providing scholars from a variety of fields (English, History, Theatre, Politics, Art, Architecture, Economics, Women’s Studies) with freshly-edited fully-annotated transcripts and also digital images of the manuscripts.
- Provide the first calendar and full inventory of ERM’s letters
- Provide fresh transcriptions from the archives and full scholarly annotation in the first digital edition of this important correspondence.
- Mount the transcriptions together with images of some of the manuscripts on to a specially-constructed and fully-sustainable website which will allow additions and corrections while the editing work is in process.
- A digital edition will give searchability of the letters to enable connections to be made between correspondents, places, proper nouns and to enable fresh research
The Colloquia 2010-2012
1. The first colloquium, entitled 'Bluestockings: The Social
Network', was held in
2. The second colloquium, entitled Editing Enlightenment Letters: Elizabeth Montagu’s Correspondence was hosted by the Huntington Library, California (13 April 2012), and speakers included Markman Ellis, Deborah Heller, Nicole Pohl, Elizabeth Eger, Clarissa Campbell Orr and Michael J. Franklin. 38 delegates.
3. The final colloquium, entitled Writing Materials:Women of Letters from
Enlightenment to Modernity was held in
Outputs from the colloquia
- Two special journal issues are currently being prepared ‘Elizabeth Montagu: Commerce, Friendship and Sociability’ ed. M. Franklin and N. Pohl for The Huntington Library Quarterly; ‘The Material Culture of Women’s Writing’ – for Women’s Writing ed. C. Franklin: both to be published in 2014.
- The Pilot Project, a selected edition of the Montagu-Beattie correspondence hitherto unpublished is under preparation by the steering committee for publication on the website and demonstrates the editorial principles agreed by the Editorial Board.