Elizabeth Montagu Criticism - Essay

Grace and Philip Wharton (essay date 1890)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Wharton, Grace and Philip Wharton. “Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu.” In The Queens of Society, Vol. 2, pp. 222-47. London: J. W. Jarvis & Son, 1890.

[In the following essay, the authors provide a summary of Montagu's life, works, and significance.]

Sir Nathaniel Wraxall, in his Diary, speaks of Mrs. Montagu's ‘palace, as it would be termed at Rome or Naples, in Portman Square.’ ‘The palace’ exists: we see it, somewhat secluded from public gaze, yet not secluded as in the time of its first owner, when it was encompassed with fields. In spring the earliest budding trees shade its entrance; in autumn the planes and elms near it are the first...

(The entire section is 9933 words.)

Reginald Blunt (essay date 1923)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Blunt, Reginald. “Introductory.” In Mrs. Montagu “Queen of the Blues”: Her Letters and Friendships from 1762-1800: Volume 1: 1762-1776, pp. 1-11. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1923.

[In the following essay, Blunt discusses Montagu's private and professional life, focusing on her letters and the critical response to them.]

MR. Cambridge.
And what does Dr. Johnson call her?
FANNY Burney.
“Queen,” to be sure. “Queen of the Blues!”

Madame D'Arblay's Diaries.

The family, child life, girlhood, marriage, and earlier correspondence of Mrs. Montagu have been dealt...

(The entire section is 3369 words.)

Reginald Blunt (essay date 1923)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Blunt, Reginald. “Elizabeth Montagu Herself.” In Mrs. Montagu “Queen of the Blues”: Her Letters and Friendships from 1762-1800: Volume 2: 1777-2000, 349-68. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1923.

[In the following essay, Blunt describes the importance of Montagu and her letters, including how they shaped her persona and what her letters reveal about her character.]

On the death of any of her particular friends, and also of the great folk of her day, such as Lord Bath, Lord Chatham, Lady Hervey, Lord Lyttelton, Lord Chesterfield, her cousin the Primate, and many others, it was, as we have seen, Mrs. Montagu's custom to set down in her letters her...

(The entire section is 6891 words.)

Rebecca West (essay date 1937)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: West, Rebecca. “Elizabeth Montagu (1720-1800).” In From Anne to Victoria: Essays by Various Hands, edited by Bonamy Dobrée, pp. 164-87. Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, Inc., 1967.

[In the following essay, originally published in 1937, West offers a critical overview of Montagu's life and works.]

In every age there are certain women who, because they are feminine without being womanly, because they conform completely to the masculine notion of what a woman should be and disregard all instructions from their own nature, enjoy great material success yet leave no sense of triumph. This class was conspicuously represented in eighteenth-century England...

(The entire section is 7987 words.)

Rose Mary Davis (essay date 1939)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Davis, Rose Mary. “The Blue Stockings.” In The Good Lord Lyttelton: A Study in Eighteenth Century Politics and Culture, pp. 283-90. Bethlehem, PA: Times Publishing Company, 1939.

[In the following excerpt, Davis explores Montagu's relationship with Lord Lyttelton, referring to their correspondence, and discusses the Bluestocking social circle, which was created by Montagu and frequented by Lyttelton.]

Lord Lyttelton's insignificance in politics during the years when he sat in the House of Lords did not extend to the literary world. It was an age of literary dictators; and while he can claim no such position of authority as was given to Dryden, Pope, or...

(The entire section is 2913 words.)

W. Powell Jones (essay date 1949)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Jones, W. Powell. “The Romantic Bluestocking, Elizabeth Montagu.” Huntington Library Quarterly 12, no. 1 (1949): 85-98.

[In the following essay, Jones discusses the importance of Montagu's letters and what they reveal about her. He also examines several unpublished pieces of correspondence in terms of the literary theory contained therein, focusing especially on the eighteenth century conception of romanticism.]


Elizabeth Robinson Montagu, “Queen of the Bluestockings,” is perhaps the most famous of those learned ladies of eighteenth-century England who courted literary circles, collected celebrities, and strove to be known as...

(The entire section is 5828 words.)

Katherine G. Hornbeak (essay date 1949)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Hornbeak, Katherine G. “New Light on Mrs. Montagu.” In The Age of Johnson: Essays Presented to Chauncey Brewster Tinker, edited by Frederick W. Hilles, pp. 349-61. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1949.

[In the following essay, Hornbeak examines those letters of Montagu that relate to her relationship with James Woodhouse, a poet and her employee, and what they impart about various aspects of her life.]

Luckily for Mrs. Montagu's peace of mind and prestige, the most unsympathetic account of her by a contemporary was not published until nearly a century after her death. Occasionally during her lifetime some critical comment on the Queen of the Blues struck...

(The entire section is 4685 words.)

Edith Sedgwick Larson (essay date 1986)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Larson, Edith Sedgwick. “A Measure of Power: The Personal Charity of Elizabeth Montagu.” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 16 (1986): 197-210.

[In the following essay, Larson analyzes Montagu's letters, arguing that money played an important role in her life and that she wielded power through financial charity.]

Elizabeth Robinson Montagu (1720-1800) is too often perceived in terms of stale images conjured up by Samuel Johnson's sobriquet for her, “Queen of the Blue-Stockings.”1 Disparaging connotations of pretentious self-interest sometimes associated with the bluestockings have made it easy to dismiss her and her friends as women...

(The entire section is 5777 words.)

Sylvia Harcstark Myers (essay date 1990)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Myers, Sylvia Harcstark. “Elizabeth Montagu: The Making of a Female Critic.” In The Bluestocking Circle: Women, Friendship, and the Life of the Mind in Eighteenth-Century England, pp. 177-206. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990.

[In the following essay, Myers explores Montagu's life as it relates to the Bluestockings, including her relationship with the other members of the social circle and her efforts in literary criticism.]

In the late 1740s and early 1750s Elizabeth Montagu experienced ill health, the deaths of close relatives, the collapse of her sister's marriage, and an increasing awareness of the incompatibility underlying her relations with her husband....

(The entire section is 11942 words.)