Thalia's Daughters

A weblog for English 6365: Women Onstage in the Long Eighteenth Century, at UNB.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mail down

My campus email seems to be down, for the second day. If any of you need to get in touch with me, you could email scribbling at gmail dot com.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Feedback on assignments

I have just emailed each of you feedback on all assignments but the final paper. Please let me know if you don't get it, or if you have any questions or concerns. I can certainly have a more detailed discussion about their assignments with anyone who is interested.

Have to turn some attention to my survey students; after that, your papers.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Mary Hamilton, Bluestocking

Just saw a link on a listserv I'm on, C18-L, to an article from The Observer: "Diaries reveal passions at the court of King George" by Vanessa Thorpe:

Mary Hamilton is being called 'the female Pepys' for her illuminating record of royal life at the end of the 18th century. Now a battle is being fought to save it for the nation. . . .

One of the early 'bluestockings', the term coined to describe the intellectual lady socialites of the day, Hamilton was a friend of the novelist Fanny Burney and an acquaintance of Horace Walpole, Samuel Johnson and James Boswell. In one letter she describes Burney's new novel, Cecilia, as 'a good lounging book' and elsewhere gives her opinions on Voltaire and on one of her other favourite works, The Origin and Progress of Writing and Printing by Thomas Astle, Keeper of the Tower Records: 'I should like to buy it but my pocket money won't allow of such indulgences.'


Reading your blogs I see lot's of interesting responses and good questions.

• Lady Smatter, her treatment, and her character over the two plays, are issues for more than one of you.

• Silence, speaking, women's learning and writing, are central concerns.

• Discomfort with Burney's apparent satirizing of the "learned lady" recurs in your blogs.

• Some of you ask, how can we read the final speeches in each play?

Kirsten has posted some excellent questions.

I would add a couple of other ideas for your consideration:

• How do these plays compare to others we have read? How does Burney negotiate the genre? How does she work with, or against, prevailing standards and tropes?

• We began the course with The Female Wits and are ending it with The Witlings. We also began the course with Cavendish's closet dramas, and we are ending it with two writers who had difficulty having their plays performed (I refer to Baillie here as well as Burney). Are these facts simply depressing, or can we say more about women writing for the stage over the century, give or take, that has passed?

Friday, December 01, 2006

On the internets, no-one knows you're a dog

Given elements of the recent conversation some of us were having on the Wiki talk pages, I wanted to post this: the "About" page of an academic blogger (a guy who works on the 18thc, in fact) in which he addresses the issue of the potentially detrimental effects some fear blogging may have on one's academic career. It's really good, and not just because he mentions me twice.