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 im Juli 2018 - Beitrag vom 02.05.2003

Jennifer Gallagher

Women can do more than play cards and the piano! Letters and conversations by the Bluestockings of 18th century London with a parallel German text, showing the first steps of women´s emancipation

In the last half of the eighteenth century London, black stockings were always worn to a formal event. But when educated, intellectual and conservative upper-middle class women formed an informal literary club to raise the moral, intellectual and cultural standards for common women of their time, the warning to guests was: Wear your bluestockings!

This group women didn´t approve of female "accomplishments" such as playing a musical instrument, the playing of cards and frivolous behavior that was displayed in the already established French salons. Instead, the Bluestockings hosted evening entertainment where the literary figures of London took the spotlight. At the beginning, several men such as Samual Johnson and Horace Walpole were included but later the Bluestockings considered themselves to be a women´s group. Women became the majority of the guests, and the subject of the evening was often a learned woman from the past or present. Although the Bluestockings were still were too traditional to be feminists, their desire for education, their willingness to go beyond the confines of the salon in pursuing their interests, and their championing of unity among women of all social classes, they began the process of questioning women´s role in society.

Bluestockings from dtv publishers is a fascinating collection of letters, written by both men and women from the Bluestockings as well lively reports from various Bluestocking evening gatherings. The subjects for discusion and reflection are varied: declarations of love, the education of young girls, woman as soldiers and most importantly: how to be tactful and polite! Every excerpt shows ironic sharp wit, and a precise command of the English language of the eighteen century. And because the language of that time is rather complex for anyone who isn´t a historian or an English native speaker, readers can be reassured by the excellent and accurate parallel German translation of the English text!

Bluestockings - Blaustrümpfe
Ein literarisch-sozialgeschichtlich-feministisches Lesebuch.
dtv zweisprachig - Edition Langewiesche-Brandt
herausgegeben von Hannelore von Preibisch
Dtv, Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, München, Februar 2003
ISBN 3-423-09422-2
9,50 €,200911871375" taregt="_blank">

Literatur Beitrag vom 02.05.2003 Jennifer Gallagher 

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