Saturday, January 23, 2016


From Geri Walton:
Although one of the first references to bluestockings appeared in 1638, the term bluestocking did not became common until the 1700s. The term was applied to literary ladies and conferred on a society of literary persons of both sexes. Literary societies in England had been influenced by French salons, where conversation was famous. Moreover, these societies were equivalent to the French bas bleu from the 1500s that applied to French literary women.

One of the most active promoters of England’s bluestocking society was Benjamin Stillingfleet. He was a distinguished botanist, translator, and writer. He was also a tutor, and he and William Windham—Stillingfleet’s relative and pupil—set off on the Grand Tour in 1737. In 1740, while they were in Geneva, they formed a community said to be “dedicated to the pursuit of literary discussion and play-reading.” This was partly why some people have claimed that Stillingfleet was the first bluestocking. (Read more.)

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