The public life of a woman of wit and quality: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and the vogue for smallpox inoculation

Barnes, Diana (2012) The public life of a woman of wit and quality: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and the vogue for smallpox inoculation. Feminist Studies, 38 2: 330-362.

Author Barnes, Diana
Title The public life of a woman of wit and quality: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and the vogue for smallpox inoculation
Journal name Feminist Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0046-3663
2153-3873
Publication date 2012
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 38
Issue 2
Start page 330
End page 362
Total pages 33
Place of publication College Park, MD, United States
Publisher Feminist Studies
Language eng
Abstract [...]parish registers began to note cause of death, making it easier for scholars to gauge the impact of diseases and model their patterns. [...]we know that from 1650, rural townships typically experienced smallpox epidemics every five years, but in larger urban centers, such as London, the disease was endemic, with periods of increased intensity - lasting a year or two - occurring approximately every four years during the seventeenth century and every two during the eighteenth century.7 (This pattern was only abated by the successful global promotion of vaccination in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.) Consequently, David Shuttleton argues that the eighteenth century was "a crucial era of intensified literary representation" of smallpox.\n Providing the terms by which she wishes her advocacy of inoculation to be remembered, she asserts "I am Patriot enough to take pains to bring this usefull invention into fashion in England . . By the 1730s, a "patriot opposition" to the Whig Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, made up of Tories and disaffected Whigs had taken shape, but Montagu does not associate herself with this movement.107 Nonetheless her patriot stance, which is not confined to the Chiswell letter, was potentially politically inflammatory, particularly as her daughter had married the rising Tory politician and future prime minister, John Stuart, Earl of Bute.108 In the 1740s, still seeking a public outlet for her patriot zeal, Montagu offered to spy for Robert Walpole on the Continent, but by the 1750s she had become cynical about the public roles available to educated women of quality.
Keyword Smallpox
Women's health
Mortality
Society
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Communication and Arts Publications
 
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