Etching of Elizabeth Montagu

The Bluestocking Archive

This archive has been constructed as a layered series in which related texts can be situated both simply and complexly. The attempt is to make clearer the connections between the phenomenon of the original Bluestocking Circle, the development of sensibility, and the achievements of High Romanticism. The archive is currently under construction, only those entries with "hotspots" are completed. Comments and suggestions for revision are welcomed. Please send correspondence to:


Elizabeth Fay
English Department
UMass Boston
Boston, MA 02125-3393

A) The Bluestocking Circle: Elizabeth Montagu, Elizabeth Carter, Catherine Talbot, Elizabeth Vesey, Mary Delany, Hester Chapone

    1. Elizabeth Carter, Poems on Several Occasions (1762); selected correspondence to Elizabeth Montagu
    2. Elizabeth Montagu, An Essay on the Writing and Genius of Shakespeare (1769); selected prose and poetry;; Correspondence 1720-1761
    3. Catherine Talbot, Essays on Various Subjects (1772)
    4. Hester Chapone, Letters on the Improvement of the Mind (1773)
    5. Sarah Scott, list discussion of Millenium Hall (Spring, 1996)
    6. Eighteenth-century edited by Jack Lynch
Etching: Elizabeth Montagu and Elizabeth Carter 'corresponding'

B) Writings that encouraged women's intellectualism

    1. The Female Right to Literature, tract by Thomas Seward (1748)
    2. The Feminiad, poem by John Duncombe (1751)
    3. Mary Wollstonecraft, Thoughts on the Education of Daughters (1787)
    4. Catherine Macauley, Letters on Education (1790)
    5. Felicia Hemans and Lucy Aikin on Women's Literary Tradition

C) Their larger circle

    1. Hester Thrale, selections from Thraliana (1776-1809)
    2. Hannah More, Bas Bleu (1786); Percy (1778)
    3. Fanny Burney, The Witlings (1779)
    4. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire; The Devonshire House Circle, by Hugh Stokes (1916)
    5. Ann Yearsley, selections from Poems on Several Occasions (1785):
    6. "Addressed to Sensibility"; Preface to Poems on Various Subjects (1787)
    7. Frances Reynolds, Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Taste (1789)
    8. Elizabeth Hamilton, Memoirs of Modern Philosophers (1800)
    9. Clara Reeve, Progress of Romance (1785)
    10. Anna Laetitia Barbauld, " A Summer Evening's Meditation," (1773); selections from Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose (1773); Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, A Poem; Selected Poems, edited by Michael Gamer, UPenn
    11. Josiah Wedgwood and his pottery

D) Related Circles

D1) The Ladies of Llangollen

    1. Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, selected correspondence
    2. Elizabeth Smith, Poems, ed. by Harriet Bowdler (selections)
    3. Lady Louisa Stuart, selections of letters on the Llangollen Ladies
    4. Anna Seward, Llangollen Vale(1796); extracts from Memoirs of the Life of Dr. Darwin (1804); letters to Eleanor Butler
    5. Mary Tighe, Psyche (1805)

D2) Anna Seward, Swan of Lichfield

  1. Seward, "Eyam" and selected sonnets
  2. Helen Maria Williams, selections from Letters Written in France (1790-1794); extracts from Julia, A Novel (1790)
  3. Maria Edgeworth, Memoir of Mrs. Elizabeth Hamilton (1816)
  4. Thomas Day, The History of Sanford and Merton (1783-89)

D3) Della Cruscans

    1. The Florence Miscellany (publication which began the Della Cruscan phenomenon, 1785)
    2. Hannah Cowley and Robert Merry, Della Cruscan poems
    3. Mary Robinson, "Ode to Della Crusca" from Poems (1791); extracts from her Memoirs
    4. William Gifford, The Baviad (1791)

D4) The Slavery Debate

    1. Ottobah Cugoano
    2. Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Epistle To William Wilberforce, Esq. on the Rejection of the Bill for Abolishing the Slave Trade.
    3. Discussion of the Slavery Debate
    4. Bibliography for the Slavery Debate

E) Predecessor Texts, Related Women Writers, Cultural Contexts, and Late Romantic Resonances

    1. David Garrick, Florizel and Perdita (1758)
    2. Thomas Gray, The Progress of Poesy (1757)
    3. Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794)
    4. Mary Robinson, Sappho to Phaon (1796), from University of Virginia; Opening Passage of the Memoirs of Mary Robinson (1895 edition); A Letter to the Women of England on the Injustice of Mental Subordination (1799)
    5. Joanna Baillie, Introductory Discourse to her Plays on the Passions (1798); Commentary on De Monfort and Count Basil
    6. The French Revolution (relevance to British Romanticism)
    7. Dorothy Wordsworth, Commentary on Selections from the Journals
    8. Charlotte Smith, Elegiac Sonnets
    9. Anna Laetitia Barbauld, selections from British Novelists (1810) including the prefatory essay, Origin and Progress of Novel Writing
    10. Mary Shelley, Loves of the Poets (1829)
    11. Felicia Hemans, Mozart's Requiem (1828); Felicia Heman's Page, maintained by Mary Mark Ockerbloom; Felicia Hemans Chronology, by (Nanora Sweet, U. Missouri, St. Louis)
    12. Grace Aguilar (1816-1847)

F) Contemporary Critiques and Subsequent Responses

    1. Hannah Cowley, The Runaway (1776) Critical Introduction by Angela Escott
    2. Richard Polwhele, UnSex'd Females (1798).
    3. Jane Taylor, Display: A Tale for Young People (1815)
    4. George Gordon, Lord Byron, The Blues: A Literary Eclogue (1821).
    5. Byron, Selected poems from Hours of Idleness (1807).
    6. Byron, Don Juan, Canto I (1819)
    7. Byron, Don Juan (1819-24), from the University of Toronto .
    8. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Essay on Mind (1823).
    9. Amelia Opie, On some of the most prominent subjects of detraction, authoresses, bluestockings in Detraction Displayed (1828).
    10. Charlotte Bronte, Shirley (1848) (selections indicating the prejudice against intellectual women by the mid-nineteenth century), from

G) High Romanticism and Sensibility

    1. Oliver Goldsmith, Selected Works, from Voice of the Shuttle
    2. Thomas Gray, Selected Works from Voice of the Shuttle
    3. Thomas Chatterton, Selected Poems (U. Toronto)
    4. James Macpherson, Fragments of Ancient Poetry, Collected in the Highlands of Scotland, and Translated from the Gaelic or Erse Language (1761) (HyperEpos: Epic on the Internet)
    5. Hannah More, "Sensibility: An Epistle to the Honourable Mrs. Boscawen" (1782) (Michael Gamer, U. Penn)
    6. Helen Maria Williams, "To Sensibility" (1786) (Stuart Curran, U. Penn)
    7. Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Ode to the West Wind" (1820)
    8. John Keats, "Ode To Psyche" (1819)
    9. Byron, Manfred (1817) 
    10. Joanna Baillie (1762-1851)

H) Art

    1. William Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty

I) Global Connections

    1. Bluestockingism in Japan: Feminism in Modern Japan by Vera Mackie

J) Related Websites

    1. Bluestocking Women Writers in 18th-Century London: Reinventing the Feminine by Katelyn Ludwig


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