The Female Spectator 5.1 (Spring/Summer 2021 issue)

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The Female Spectator 5.1 (Spring/Summer 2021 issue)


Chawton House’s digital magazine The Female Spectator vol 5, no. 1.



Paying tribute to pioneering women

Originally set up in 1995, Chawton House’s magazine The Female Spectator is a tribute to Eliza Haywood’s publication of the same name, published from April 1744-May 1746. Haywood’s magazine provides a fascinating insight into eighteenth-century life, with content including fiction, moral essays, social and political commentary, and topics as diverse as tea drinking, gambling, diplomacy and natural history. In the opening pages, we are introduced to the female spectator, a reformed coquet who, having spent her youth engaged in ‘a hurry of promiscuous diversions’, is now older, wiser, and ready to share ‘useful and entertaining’ insights with the public. Haywood’s female spectator stresses that her ‘ambition was to be as universally read as possible.’
Relaunched as a digital publication in 2020, our new Female Spectator continues Chawton House’s tradition of sharing both news from Chawton House itself and the fascinating and varied work done by researchers and scholars on its collections, and particularly on women writers in the long eighteenth century. Magazines in the eighteenth century were spaces in which amateur writers and professionals mingled, reviewing the latest novels or fashions, writing poetry or short stories, sharing riddles or recipes, and it is this spirit that we want to reflect.
In this issue:
  • Made in Lockdown: Highlights from our current exhibition, created by volunteers
  • Louise Ansdell: My dearest George: the love letters of Dora Best
  • Erika Mailman: Pride, Prejudice & the Plague: a Pandemic Bright Spot
  • Jo Willett: The Pioneering Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
  • Adventurous Wives: A write-up of Chawton House’s recent 2-day digital conference

Full Contents

  • Curator’s Corner: Mary Russell Mitford on Jane Austen, Emma Yandle
  • Botanical Women at Chawton House
  • Featured in Made in Lockdown
  • ‘My dearest George’: The letters of Dora Best to George Brett, Louise Ansdell
  • Notes from the Reading Room: Chawton House Reading Group, Kim Simpson
  • Pride, Prejudice and the Plague, Erika Mailman
  • Notes from the Garden, Julia Weaver
  • Celebrating William Cowper: An Online Study Day
  • The Secrets of Chawton House, Part III, Martin Caddick
  • Recipes from the Old Kitchen Tea Room, Enya Nwaegbe
  • Books by this year’s Chawton House Speakers
  • The Pioneering Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Jo Willett
  • Adventurous Wives in the Long Eighteenth Century
  • Health, hygiene and bodily functions in the ‘Age of Politeness’, Clio O’Sullivan
  • Chawton House Portrait: Frances Kemble
  • Forthcoming Events
  • Poems & Puzzles
  • Acknowledgements

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