Thalia's Daughters

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

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.'

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