bluestocking

bluestocking
bluestockingism, n.
/blooh"stok'ing/, n.
1. a woman with considerable scholarly, literary, or intellectual ability or interest.
2. a member of a mid-18th-century London literary circle: Lady Montagu was a celebrated bluestocking.
[1675-85; so called from the informal attire, esp. blue woolen instead of black silk stockings, worn by some women of the group (def. 2)]

* * *

In mid-18th-century England, any of a group of women who met to discuss literature.

Attempting to replace the playing of cards and such social activities with more intellectual pursuits, they held "conversations" to which they invited men of letters and members of the aristocracy with literary interests. The term probably originated when Mrs. Elizabeth Vesey invited the learned Benjamin Stillingfleet to one of her parties; he declined, saying he lacked appropriate dress, until she told him to come "in his blue stockings"
the ordinary worsted stockings he was wearing at the time. The word bluestocking came to be applied derisively to a woman who affects literary or learned interests.

* * *

▪ British literary society
      any of a group of ladies who in mid-18th-century England held “conversations” to which they invited men of letters and members of the aristocracy with literary interests. The word has come to be applied derisively to a woman who affects literary or learned interests. The Bluestockings attempted to replace social evenings spent playing cards with something more intellectual. The term probably originated when one of the ladies, Mrs. Vesey, invited the learned Benjamin Stillingfleet to one of her parties; he declined because he lacked appropriate dress, whereupon she told him to come “in his blue stockings”—the ordinary worsted stockings he was wearing at the time. He did so, and Bluestocking (or Bas Bleu) society became a nickname for the group. This anecdote was later recounted by Madame d'Arblay (the diarist and novelist better known as Fanny Burney), who was closely associated with (but also satirized) the Bluestockings.

      The group was never a society in any formal sense. Mrs. Vesey seems to have given the first party, in Bath. After she moved to London, a rivalry developed with Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu, who became the leader of the literary ladies. Others included Mrs. Hester Chapone, Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, Miss Mary Monckton, and Miss Hannah More, whose poem “The Bas Bleu, or Conversation,” supplies valuable inside information about them. Guests included Dr. Johnson, David Garrick, the Earl of Bath, Lord Lyttleton, and Horace Walpole (who called them “petticoteries”).

Additional Reading
W.S. Scott, The Bluestocking Ladies (1947); M.S. Harestark, The Bluestocking Circle (1990).

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно решить контрольную?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bluestocking — Blue stock ing, n. 1. A literary lady; a female pedant. [Colloq.] [1913 Webster] Note: As explained in Boswell s Life of Dr. Johnson , this term is derived from the name given to certain meetings held by ladies, in Johnson s time, for… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bluestocking — An intellectual woman is a bluestocking …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • bluestocking — also blue stocking, 1790, derisive word for a woman considered too learned, traces to a London literary salon founded c.1750 by Elizabeth Montagu on the Parisian model, featuring intellectual discussion instead of card games, and in place of… …   Etymology dictionary

  • bluestocking — (izg. blȗstōking) ž DEFINICIJA knjiš. 1. u Engleskoj naziv za ženske grupe koje su se sredinom 18. st. sastajale u salonima gdje se s pozivanim književnicima i uglednicima raspravljalo o književnosti i umjetnosti 2. pren. pejor. zast. žena… …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • bluestocking — ► NOUN often derogatory ▪ an intellectual or literary woman. ORIGIN in reference to literary parties held in London around 1750 by three society ladies, where some of the men favoured less formal dress (blue worsted stockings as opposed to the… …   English terms dictionary

  • bluestocking — [blo͞o′stäk΄iŋ] n. [from the unconventional blue (instead of black) stockings worn by Benjamin Stillingfleet at literary meetings in the home of Mrs. E. R. Montagu in London in the 1750s] a learned, bookish, or pedantic woman …   English World dictionary

  • Bluestocking — For other uses, see Bluestocking (disambiguation). Caricature of blue stockings by Rowlandson A bluestocking is an educated, intellectual woman. Until the late 18th century, the term had referred to learned people of both sexes.[1] However it… …   Wikipedia

  • bluestocking — UK [ˈbluːˌstɒkɪŋ] / US [ˈbluˌstɑkɪŋ] noun [countable] Word forms bluestocking : singular bluestocking plural bluestockings British old fashioned, showing disapproval an educated woman who is interested in serious subjects …   English dictionary

  • bluestocking — Blue Blue (bl[=u]), a. [Compar. {Bluer} (bl[=u] [ e]r); superl. {Bluest}.] [OE. bla, blo, blew, blue, livid, black, fr. Icel.bl[=a]r livid; akin to Dan. blaa blue, Sw. bl[*a], D. blauw, OHG. bl[=a]o, G. blau; but influenced in form by F. bleu,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bluestocking — noun Etymology: Bluestocking society, 18th century literary clubs Date: 1790 a woman having intellectual or literary interests …   New Collegiate Dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”