Montagu, Mrs. (Elizabeth), 1718-1800
Montagu, Mrs. (Elizabeth), 1718-1800
Montagu, Elizabeth Robinson, 1718-1800
Robinson, Elizabeth, 1718-1800
Elizabeth Montagu, née Robinson, English author and literary hostess.
Elizabeth Robinson Montagu, an author and literary hostess, was a central figure in London's Bluestocking circle, and a friend of Samuel Johnson. Her best-known work was 1769's anonymously published An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespear.
For nearly fifty years Mrs. Montagu maintained a practically undisputed supremacy as hostess in the intellectual society of London.
Elizabeth Montagu (Robinson), English author and socialite. Her husband Edward Montagu (d. 1775) was a member of the Parliament, prominent Whig and owner of coal mines in Northumberland and estates in Berkshire and Yorkshire. Elizabeth Montagu's home in London was a famous literary salon that attracted Hannah More, Elizabeth Carter, Lord Lyttleton, Horace Walpole, Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and others. After the death of her husband, she managed the family estates and collieries. Elizabeth Montagu was known as a prolific correspondent.
Elizabeth Robinson Montagu, an author and literary hostess, was a central figure in London's Bluestocking circle, and a friend of Samuel Johnson. Her best-known work was the anonymously published An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespear (1769).
Elizabeth Montagu was born on October 2, 1720, in York, England. She was the first daughter and fifth child of Matthew and Elizabeth Robinson, two well-connected and wealthy members of society who were generally distant and preoccupied parents. She spent much of her childhood in Cambridge at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Conyers Middleton, Elizabeth’s grandmother and her second husband. On these stays, Montagu and her closest sister, Sarah, were introduced to academic pursuits and pleasures. They were educated in Italian, French, and Latin and read classical and English literature and history.
Montagu’s interest in lively intellectual life continued through many important friendships in her adolescence and early adulthood. She was a close companion of Lady Margery Harley, whom she met in Cambridge. Harley was three years older than Elizabeth and introduced her to a glamorous society life. After Harley married the second duke of Portland, Elizabeth regularly visited them in London, experiencing the sort of free intellectual discourse between men and women at their home that she would later emulate in her "bluestocking" gatherings.
Elizabeth married Edward Montagu on August 5, 1742, despite her disdain for marriage. Her only child John died unexpectedly in September 1744, devastating Elizabeth. Her relationship with her husband was cordial but distant; he was preoccupied with his business and political interests and she enjoyed her intellectual pursuits.
Montagu is most famous for her "bluestockings parties," gatherings of literary figures and intellectual socialites at her London home at which drinking and card games were banned in favor of witty discussion of literature, philosophy, and other topics. Often called the "queen of the bluestockings," Montagu and her friend Elizabeth Vesey organized these meetings. Montagu also pursued her own writing, including an appreciated and acclaimed essay on Shakespeare, displaying her nationalism and belief in his genius and condemning the less positive evaluations of contemporary critics such as Samuel Johnson and Voltaire.
Montagu died in 1800, leaving her estate to her nephew, Matthew Robinson Montagu.
Elizabeth (Robinson) Montagu (1718-1800), English authoress and leader of society, was the wife of Edward Montagu, a member of parliament for Huntingdon in the whig interest and a person of wealth who owned coal mines in Northumberland and estates in Berkshire and Yorkshire. Mrs. Montagu's house in Hill Street, London, was a gathering place for persons of fashion and intellect and the "bluestocking" assemblies there attracted such visitors as Lord Lyttelton, Horace Walpole, Dr. Johnson, Burke, Garrick, and Reynolds. After 1775, the year of her husband's death, Mrs. Montagu personally managed the affairs relating to her estates and collieries.
The peculiar significance of this collection, formed by Matthew Montagu, 4th Baron Rokeby, Mrs. Montagu's nephew and executor, is that it includes many of Mrs. Montagu's letters (3300) as well as several thousand letters addressed to her.
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