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Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689–1762)

Autor(a) de Turkish Embassy Letters

47+ Works 857 Membros 12 Críticas 2 Favorited

About the Author

Lady Mary, as Montagu is known, was among the truly independent women of eighteenth-century England. During her lifetime she was much admired as a poet of stylish wit; afterward she was highly regarded as a correspondent of keen observation. While still a young woman, she eloped with Edward Wortley mostrar mais Montagu and, when he was appointed ambassador, accompanied him to Constantinople. On her return to England, she brought with her the vaccine for smallpox (she had meanwhile contracted the disease). She was the leading woman of letters of her day, and, while she quarreled in print with her friends Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift, she returned their attacks with at least equal force. From 1739 until just before her death in 1762, she left England and her husband for Italy; from Brescia she wrote to her daughter letters so brimming with learning that Voltaire compared them favorably to those of Mme de Sevigne (see Vol. 2). (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos


Obras por Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Turkish Embassy Letters (1988) 272 exemplares
Letters (1763) 185 exemplares
Indamora to Lindamira (1994) 4 exemplares
Romance writings (1996) 4 exemplares
Letters, 1709-1762 (1925) 3 exemplares
L'Islam au péril des femmes (2001) 2 exemplares
Briefe aus Wien (1985) 2 exemplares
The Adventurer (2000) 1 exemplar
Sark Mektuplari (2017) 1 exemplar

Associated Works

The Penguin Book of Women Poets (1978) — Contribuidor — 299 exemplares
Maiden Voyages: Writings of Women Travelers (1993) — Contribuidor — 192 exemplares
Eighteenth Century Women Poets: An Oxford Anthology (1989) — Contribuidor — 121 exemplares
The Penguin Book of Women's Humour (1996) — Contribuidor — 119 exemplares
The Norton Book of Travel (1987) — Contribuidor — 111 exemplares
Classic Travel Stories (1994) — Contribuidor — 62 exemplares
Lapham's Quarterly - The Future: Volume IV, Number 4, Fall 2011 (2011) — Contribuidor — 23 exemplares
Eighteenth Century Women: An Anthology (1984) — Contribuidor — 23 exemplares
Masters of British Literature, Volume A (2007) — Contribuidor — 21 exemplares
Englische Essays aus drei Jahrhunderten (1980) — Contribuidor — 10 exemplares
Bright Poems for Dark Days: An Anthology for Hope (2021) — Contribuidor — 10 exemplares
Men and Women: The Poetry of Love (1970) — Contribuidor — 8 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
Data de falecimento
Local de nascimento
London, England, UK
Local de falecimento
London, England, UK
Locais de residência
London, England, UK
Istanbul, Ottoman Turkey
Florence, Tuscany, Italy
Avignon, France
Brescia, Italy
at home
letter writer
translator (mostrar todos 7)
Stuart, Lady Louisa (granddaughter)
Pope, Alexander (friend)
Astell, Mary (friend)
Gay, John (friend)

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Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, née Pierrepont, was born in London, a daughter of Evelyn and Mary Pierrepont. Her father became earl of Kingston the year after her birth. She was educated at home and taught herself Latin in her father's library. Her early influences were the classics, John Dryden, and French romances. In 1710, she translated the Enchiridion (Handbook) of the ancient Greek philosopher Epictetus from Latin into English and sent a copy to Gilbert Brunet, Bishop of Salisbury, with a letter defending women's right to formal education. Despite her initial reluctance, in 1712, she married Edward Wortley Montagu, a lawyer, diplomat, and Member of Parliament. Her first published writing appeared in 1714 in Addison's Spectator, under the pseudonym Lady President. During this period she also became friends with a literary circle that included Alexander Pope and John Gay. She is chiefly known today for the letters she wrote while the couple were living in 1716-1718 in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul), where her husband served as the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. Her writings are considered an extremely valuable historical resource, and the earliest secular work by a woman about the Muslim world. She also wrote volumes of poems, essays, a brief epistolary novel, and a play. Lady Mary kept a diary, but it was burned after her death by her daughter Mary, Lady Bute. Her surviving Letters and Works were published in 1837 with an introduction by her granddaughter Lady Louisa Stuart.



La imagen que Europa compuso en el siglo XVIII de la cultura otomana ya no fue la misma tras esta sorprendente correspondencia. Desmintiendo relatos de otros viajeros, cubierta con el yasmak [asmak], o velo turco, esta inglesa, no solo escribe la crónica de los bazares, las mezquitas, las ceremonias de la corte o la vida en las calles, sino que da noticia de la vacuna sobre la viruela o desvela la intimidad del harén y la voluptuosidad de los hamanes como ningún europeo lo había hecho antes desatando un imaginario que transforma las artes y alienta la estética orientalista. En el siglo de grandes damas e ilustres salonnières, la inteligencia de Lady Montagu asombró a Voltaire que la consideraba por su cosmopolitismo muy superior a madame de Sévigné y sabido es que el pintor Ingres, un siglo después, encontró en sus prolijas descripciones del haremlik inspiración para sus cuadros de odaliscas y escenas de harén. Su energía y humor sutil aún provoca entre nosotros una fascinación intacta como nos recuerda Juan Goytisolo.… (mais)
Natt90 | 5 outras críticas | Mar 22, 2023 |
Read for my course. These had their moments, but mostly it was like some one describing their holiday snaps to you in excruciating detail.
pgchuis | 5 outras críticas | Sep 5, 2022 |
In 1716, the 27 year old author accompanied her ambassador husband to his posting in Constantinople. In a series of letters to the folks back home, she exclaims over the experienceof their progress through Europe - from the Court at Vienna, , through the snowy plains of Hungary, with their 'vast quantity of wolves' and on to Serbia. She writes of the all-powerful janissaries, under whom the monarch is but a puppet.
They remain for sometime in Adrianople (Edirne) - where the author encounters a 'new world'. As one of the first female visitors, she is able to discover the world of the harem, Turkish baths etc. In order to go about unmarked, she adopts Turkish drress; she observes that Turkish women enjoy more liberty than the English....all veiled up, they now have "entire liberty of following their inclinations without danger of discovery" since "'tis impossible for the most jealous husband to know his wife when he meets her". This coupled with their significantly greater control over their money than English women, cause her to pronounce them "the only free people in the empire."
Her letters contain all manner of historical treasures- the Turks had invented a king of precursor to smallpox innoculation ("engrafting" ); camels; interior decor; visits to the seraglio; a great parade ...
At last they continue on to Constantinople...an allergic reaction to cosmetic 'balm of Mecca'; the fire risk of the Turkish heating system, the tandir stove,a meeting with the melancholy Sultana Hafise, coerced into remarriage after being widowd; mosques and palaces...
The letters conclude on their return to Dover, some 18 months on.Montague concludes that since, now "I must be contented with out=r scanty allowance of daylight, (may I) forget the enlivening sun of Constantinoiple."
Quite an interesting read.
… (mais)
starbox | 2 outras críticas | Feb 9, 2020 |
Lady Mary's personal life was very complicated but her letters draw a veil over all that. She focusses on local colour, decorating details and other topics likely to interest her correspondents, latterly her married daughter. The letters from Constantinople are of course historically important. Otherwise they simply give us a picture of a remarkable woman. I am somewhat reminded of Mehitabel the cat. "Toujours gai, Archy, toujours gai."
booksaplenty1949 | 1 outra crítica | Mar 18, 2017 |


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