The Project

Aims

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.

Objectives

  • To preserve the fragile papers by providing scholars from a variety of fields (English, History, Theatre, Politics, Art, Architecture, Economics, Women’s Studies) with diplomatic transcriptions alongside, where possible, digital images of the manuscripts.
  • To publish the first calendar and full inventory of Elizabeth Robinson Montagu’s letters.
  • To provide fresh transcriptions from the archives and full scholarly annotation in this the first digital edition of this important correspondence; together with biographies, maps, illustrations and links to relevant databases.
  • To present the Montagu letters by correspondent, as a series of epistolary friendships.
  • To publish the correspondence on a specially-constructed and fully-sustainable website, built and hosted by Swansea University. The website will use the latest techniques in Digital Humanities to cater for different levels of readership, and the digital edition will be continuously updated, as additional information comes to light during the editing process.
  • To share our enthusiasm for the project with researchers, students and the interested general public.

Please contact us if …

  • You would be interested in taking part in the project
  • You are involved in a similar project and can provide a link to its website
  • You would like one of our researchers to give a talk about the project to your organisation

Collaborative Partners

The Huntington Library, California, USA

Sandra L. Brooke
Avery Director of the Huntington Library, Sandra L. Brooke
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