Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1689–1762, English author, noted primarily for her highly descriptive letters. She was the daughter of the first duke of Kingston. In 1712 she married Edward Wortley Montagu, who became ambassador to Turkey in 1716. On her return to England in 1718 she worked to educate the public in the use of inoculation against smallpox. In 1739 she left her husband and went to live on the Continent. Her Town Eclogues (1747), which gives an entertaining picture of contemporary manners, was first published by Edmund Curll in a pirated edition in 1716. She is remembered for her quarrel with Pope, who had once been her ardent admirer and who attacked her viciously in his poetry. Horace Walpole disliked her also and depicted her as a greedy, heartless eccentric. However, recent studies have defended her as a brilliant woman struggling for emancipation. Her letters were first published in 1763.
See the complete letters (1965–67) and selections (1970), both ed. by R. Halsband, also biography by R. Halsband (1956).
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Publication information: Article title: Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley. Encyclopedia title: The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. © 2012 The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia © 2012, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. Used with the permission of Columbia University Press. All Rights Reserved. Publisher: The Columbia University Press. Place of publication: Not available. Publication year: 2013.
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