I was delighted to discover "A Sketch of a Bluestocking" when I was editing my collection of women's writings on authorship (Wielding the Pen) because, frankly, it was the only positive story I could find. Women writers were very fond of portraying their own kind rather tragically in fiction. Together, Sedgwick's two stories on women writers suggest the complex feelings women had about entering the public sphere of authorship. I reprinted both stories in my anthology Wielding the Pen: Writings on Authorship by American Women of the Nineteenth Century. You can learn more about Sedgwick from the Catharine Maria Segdwick Society website and this detailed biography.
Mrs. Roswell is literary, and--a blue-stocking. I cannot deny it; if the most ardent devotion to knowledge and talent, even though they chance to be found in books; if a love of science; if an occasional communication to the public of the result of her studies and observations, constitutes a blue-stocking. But if being the most honored and beloved of wives; the most tender and capable of mothers; the most efficient and least bustling of housewives; the truest of friends, and the most attractive of women, can rescue her from this repulsive name, she deserves it no more than the veriest ignoramus in the land.
It is a pleasure to become acquainted with this brilliant original author. Each short story is a unique and rare glimpse into an unusual life.
I was especially touched by the "Rodman The Keeper" story and learned a little of what the South was like after the Civil War.
This is a book I will cherish and reread in the future!
Thanks again for keeping up with my news and staying in touch. I'd love to hear your thoughts about the new format and any suggestions you have. (If you'd like to share the newsletter with your friends, they can sign up here: https://tinyletter.com/abrioux.) Until next month . . .
Anne Boyd Rioux