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Susannah Gibson charts the struggles and immense achievements of a group of trailblazing women who risked their reputations to become public intellectuals. Burdened with ailing children and unsympathetic husbands, enduring the sneers of contemporaries who thought books frazzled women’s brains and damaged their wombs, they read, wrote and published their work. Copies of Hannah More’s poems were requested by King George III, Elizabeth Montagu’s rebuttal to Voltaire’s critique of Shakespeare thoroughly rattled the great Frenchman, and Catherine Macaulay’s histories were so acclaimed in America that on her visit there she was hosted by George Washington. Earning money, fame, and with these, power, the Bluestockings laid essential foundations for future feminists to build upon. This book tells the forgotten stories of these heroines of Britain’s very first women’s movement.

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SKU: 9781529369991 Category: Tags: ,


In Britain in the 1750s, women had no power and no rights – all money and property belonged to their fathers or husbands. A brave group risked everything to think and live as they wished, despite the sneers of contemporaries who argued that books frazzled female brains and damaged their wombs.

Meet the Bluestockings:

ELIZABETH MONTAGU hosted a series of glittering salons in her London drawing room, where a circle of women and men discussed theatre, philosophy and the classics, competing to outdo each other in wit and brilliance. Discover how she took on Voltaire and won.

Whilst nursing twelve children and helping run her bullying husband’s brewery, HESTER THRALE took key writers under her wing – Dr Johnson moved into her house for several years. Her vivid diaries offer a powerful chronicle of what happened when she finally decided to follow her heart.

Find out how poetess and former milkmaid ANN YEARSLEY fought back when her snobbish patron refused to hand over her earnings because she was working class and thus irresponsible . . .

Or how CATHERINE MACAULEY’s eight volume history of England caused such a sensation that she became a leading light in the American Revolution – while her unorthodox love-life scandalised her contemporaries . . .

In this brilliant book, Susannah Gibson explores the lives and legacies of these and other figures who went on to inspire writers and thinkers from Mary Wollstonecraft to Virginia Woolf and lead the way for feminism.

Bluestockings: the unexpected and inspiring stories of the forgotten heroines of Britain’s very first women’s movement.

Additional information

Weight 0.58 kg
Dimensions 23.6 × 16.2 × 3.8 cm










305.42094109033 (edition:23)


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