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  • Susan Stoderl

Elizabeth Carter a "Bluestocking" and Writer of Epic Book Titles


Writer of Long Book Titles

"Pride is a vice not only dreadfully mischievous in human society, but perhaps of all others, the most insuperable bar to real inward improvement."


 

Elizabeth Carter (1717-1806) was an English poet, classicist and translator. Carter was a prominent member of the “Bluestocking Circle,” the mid-18th-century women’s literary and social movement. Bluestocking is the term for an educated, intellectual woman. Other members included critic Elizabeth Montagu (1718–1800), nicknamed the “Queen of the Blues”, Elizabeth Vesey (1715–1791), and Hester Chapone (1727–1801). 


Carter gained recognition for her translations, poetry, essays, and letter writing. She was fluent in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, Italian, Spanish, and German, and later taught herself Portuguese and Arabic. Both male and female intellectuals valued her translation of the 2nd-century Greek philosophical work, the Discourses of Epictetus.


Another honor I think she may have won is producing some of the longest titles for her works. Here are two examples.


Memoirs of the Life of Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, with a New Edition of Her Poems, Some of Which Have Never Appeared before; to Which Are Added Some Miscellaneous Essays in Prose, Together with Her Notes on the Bible, and Answers to Objections Concerning the Christian Religions by the Rev. Montagu Pennington, M.A. London: Printed for F.C. and J. Rivington, 1807. First edition.
A Series of Letters between Mrs. Elizabeth Carter and Miss Catherine Talbot, from the Year 1741 to 1770: To Which Are Added, Letters from Mrs. Elizabeth Carter to Mrs. Vesey, between the Years 1763 and 1787; Published from the Original Manuscripts in the Possession of the Rev. Montagu Pennington. London: Printed for F.C. and J. Rivington, 1809. 4 vols. First edition.

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