Bluestockings, The

(639 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

The term “bluestocking” denotes an intellectual woman, and might occasionally indicate approval, but has often implied patriarchal contempt based on the idea that intellectual women are unnatural. Originally the “bluestockings” were a group of primarily wealthy and well-educated women who met to enjoy intellectual conversation in various houses in the mid- to later eighteenth century, primarily in London but also in Bath. The term then achieved a life of its own and was frequently used about intellectual women in the nineteenth century, and in the 1920s about Bloomsbury women such as Virginia Woolf. It seems only to have become rare since mass higher education has enabled greater intellectual equality between men and women.

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Clark, Robert. "Bluestockings, The". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 March 2008
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]