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The Bookshelf

Alongside her role as a socialite and 'Queen of the Bluestockings', Elizabeth Montagu is best remembered for her contributions to literary history, as a literary critic, promoter of Shakespeare, and patron of poets, philosophers, and intellectuals. Montagu's reading practices, and the texts she chose to consult for both pleasure and rational development, are therefore central to gaining a sense of her as an intellectual, and grounding her in the historical cultural context of the Enlightenment.

Whilst the footnotes to each letter contain specific textual references, with hyperlinks to external resources, both open access and subscriber-only digital facsimiles, this Bookshelf acts as a central hub for all the books which Montagu read. This Bookshelf is also a central repository for all the books consulted in the annotation of Montagu's letters, acting as a central bibliography to the project as a whole.

Following one of the links below will take you to an individual book entry which will give you the basic metadata on the book, along with hyperlinks to the various editions of the book relevant to Montagu's letters. Where possible we have provided links to the specific editions Montagu is referring to. Where a specific edition cannot be identified from internal evidence, we have provided a link to the first edition of the work. On occasions when the first edition is not available through an open access resource we have provided a link to the earliest available edition. This Bookshelf also collates the volumes of multi-volume works, even when Montagu's reference is to a specific volume number.

Each book entry also provides a list of letters in which the book is referenced, either in the footnotes or in the body of the letter. This means that if you are interested in tracing Montagu's response to a particular text, such as James Beattie's Essays (1776) for which she solicited subscriptions for over a year, then you can access a complete list of relevant letters from the central Essays page here.