This book traces the rise, development and decline of the Bluestocking Circle between 1740 and 1800, through a close analysis of the lives and works of the women who made up the group. Drawing substantially on previously unpublished information and quoting widely from the group's letters to each other, Professor Myers supplies fresh detail on the relationships, social lives and writings of the circle. There has been considerable controversy recently about the nature of the women's relationships within the group. Some have seen them as romantic friends, would-be lesbians, or as women whose friendships existed on a "lesbian continuum". Professor Myers believes that these views distort the reality: the circle was a group of friends, men as well as women, who felt intellectually and emotionally supportive rather than romantic about each other. "The Bluestocking Circle" examines a field rich in human and literary interest, and aims to significantly deepen our knowledge of 18th-century women writers.
`Sylvia Myers has left us with a tightly packed and stimulating account of an important chapter in the history of female achievement and female solidarity.'
Christine Salmon, Notes and Queries.
`excellent study of the eighteenth-century Blue Stockings ... This is an immensely enjoyable book which weighs into sexual politics and comes out preferring the naughty to the nice.'
Janet Barron, Literary Review
`Sylvia Myers has left us with a tightly packed and stimulating account of an important chapter in the history of female achievement and female solidarity'.
Christine Salmon, Notes and Queries, Dec 1991.
'solidly based on factual research, much of it contained in hitherto unpublished manuscripts ... This book is an invaluable corrective to the extremism of Armstrong and Spacks, whose picture of the relations between the sexes is seen by comparison to be artificially polarised.'
English Studies, Volume 72, Number 6, December 1991
'It is a pleasure to see the growing concern for biography evidenced in Sylvia Myers's The Bluestocking Circle, ... It is time for scholarship to regain its balance, after having tilted so strongly in the direction of theory for many years. Such balance is particularly important in the study of women writers ... a significant contribution to the study of eighteenth-century women of letters.'
Ann Messenger, Simon Fraser University, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Volume 91, No. 1, January 1992
`... Myers' book is an excellent resource for scholars either re-examining the role of literary women in the 18th century or exploring the development of British women's writing.' Shannon Million, English Language Notes
'Because this work situates itself in the context of both literary and social analyses, it is as valuable to the student of literature as it is to the student of history.'
Deborah Blenkhorn, Canadian Literature, No. 135
'as the first modern full-length study of the bluestocking circle, it provides a lot of very valuable material'
Vivien Jones, University of Leeds, British Journal of Eighteenth Studies, Spring 1993
'Her approach is chiefly biographical, and includes an impressive amount of well-documented historical material ... careful and thorough survey ... Professor Myers's book will be of interest to scholars concerned with the conditions of literary production as they affected women writers at this period.'
Harriet Devine Jump, Edge Hill College, Review of English Studies, Vol. 44, No. 176, Novembr 1993