“A Modern Woman, born 1689”: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in the Early Feminist and Women’s Suffrage Movement

Fauve Vandenberghe, Ghent University
Vol. 42, No. 1 (Spring 2023), 11-34

This article examines the early suffragist and suffragette revival of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762). Studying Montagu’s representation in prominent suffrage journals and the writing of leading women’s rights activists, this essay argues that she was celebrated as both a remarkably progressive New Woman-prototype and as an early example for women’s militant tactics. In doing so, this paper sheds new light on the complex recovery history of Montagu. It also contributes to our understanding of the importance of feminist literary criticism and women’s literary history in the historiographic projects of the early women’s movement.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]