What is a Bluestocking?

The English term “bluestocking” meaning a literary woman evolved in the mid-to-late 1700s. Women of society were beginning to express their boredom with being sent off to do their embroidery, rather than being invited to engage in conversation with the men. One early bluestocking, a “Miss Carter” wrote:

“As if the two sexes had been in a state of war, the gentlemen ranged themselves on one side of the room, where they talked their own talk, and left us poor ladies to twirl our shuttles, and amuse each other, by conversing as we could. By what little I could overhear, our opposites were discoursing on the old English poets, and this subject did not seem so much beyond a female capacity but that we might have been indulged with a share of it.”

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