Saturday, January 5, 2008

definition of bluestocking

A woman with strong scholarly or literary interests.
[After the Blue Stocking Society, a nickname for a predominantly female literary club of 18th-century London)

"The English term “bluestocking” meaning a literary woman evolved in the mid-to-late 1700s. Women of society were beginning to express their boredom with being sent off to do their embroidery, rather than being invited to engage in conversation with the men.

In about 1750, Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu (later called “the Queen of the Blues”) and her friends founded the first official bluestocking society in England. They invited learned men to gather informally with them to talk about books, literature, art and architecture, as well as places and events that interested them.

The story goes that this literary salon “enjoyed society in undress” — that is, in their more practical country clothing, most notably their blue worsted stockings. Hence, the term “bluestocking.”

Always ladies, never pedants, they regarded life with intelligence and common sense, formed their own opinions, followed their own tastes; and accomplished something towards the ideal of a gay and frank comradeship with brilliant and learned men.”

We owe a lot to these women!

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