Research assistant in English and American studies (focus on literary studies).
University of Greifswald.
Literature and cultural history; women in the eighteenth century; ecocriticism; sociability throughout the eighteenth century.
‘I wish that word fib was banished from the English language, and white lie drummed out after it,’ exclaims Miss Clarendon, a scrupulously honest character in Maria Edgeworth’s Helen (1811). Then as now, the prevalent moral view was that lying was a pernicious form of social deception.
The many-volume publication of Frances Burney’s diaries and journals situates her as one of the leading chroniclers of eighteenth-century sociability. She participated in the Sunday evening musical parties her father organized at his home in St Martin’s Street. She knew London’s sociable sights, frequently enjoying opera rehearsals or outings at Vauxhall and Ranelagh in the company of the leading musicians and artists of her day. Many of these experiences also found their way into her novels.
As a bluestocking hostess, Frances Boscawen (1719-1805) is often mentioned in connection with Elizabeth Montagu or Elizabeth Vesey, but so far, little scholarly attention has been paid to Boscawen’s sociable activities.
Often considered a contradictory character herself, Hester Thrale Piozzi, now best remembered as a Bluestocking hostess and biographer of Samuel Johnson, embodies some of the contradictions of eighteenth-century sociable lives.
The ‘Sunday evening musical parties hosted by Dr. Burney’ were informal gatherings of musicians as well as writers, actors, and painters, in order to perform in and listen to concerts, given both by amateurs and some of the most brilliant singers and musicians of the day.