By Elizabeth Eger (auth.)
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Extra resources for Bluestockings: Women of Reason from Enlightenment to Romanticism
The Nine Living Muses of Great Britain represents an Enlightenment ‘republic of letters’ in which women’s intellect was cultivated as a moral duty. While Samuel’s subjects came from divergent backgrounds and differed in their political allegiances, Introduction: The Nine Living Muses of Great Britain 21 they represent a community of cultural endeavour to be celebrated. In the history of feminism, the ‘living muses’ stand as inspiring pioneers. ∗ ∗ ∗ The sheer breadth and diversity of these nine women’s combined achievement is perhaps remarkable to the twentieth-ﬁrst century reader.
Above Grifﬁth, holding a musical instrument, is the actress and playwright Charlotte Lennox (née Ramsay, 1730–1804). 30 A precocious child, she was sent to England in 1742, where she soon published Poems on Several Occasions ‘by a Young Lady’ (1747). Her marriage to Alexander Lennox, who worked for the publisher William Strahan, provided access to London’s literary market. Her husband’s inability to earn any money turned Lennox into a determined professional. Both Johnson and Richardson strongly encouraged her in writing her most celebrated novel, The Female Quixote (1752).
In order to pay a just tribute of praise to such truly estimable characters, we have engaged a very able artist to execute a masterly drawing, in which the most eminent of the female sex are represented as, The NINE LIVING MUSES of GREAT BRITAIN In this temple of contemporary worthies Apollo is represented on a pedestal crowning Britannia with a wreath of laurel. The ladies who compose this group are as follows, viz. Miss Carter, Mrs. Barbauld, Mrs. Montague, Mrs. Angelica Kauffman, Mrs. Macaulay, Miss More, Mrs.