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Lady Mary Wortley Montague Her Life and Letters (1689-1762)   By: (1874-1932)

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Lady Mary Wortley Montague: An Inspiring Figure of Her Time

In Lewis Melville's engaging biography, we delve into the fascinating life and literary works of Lady Mary Wortley Montague, a remarkable woman ahead of her time. Melville's well-researched and comprehensive exploration of Lady Montague's life and letters provides readers with a captivating insight into the world of this influential 18th-century figure.

Melville presents Lady Montague as a complex and multi-faceted character. From her birth in 1689 to her death in 1762, her life was marked by a relentless desire for knowledge, intellectual pursuits, and an unyielding spirit. As readers journey through the pages of this biography, they witness the transformation of a precocious young girl into a woman at the forefront of curiosity, innovation, and social commentary.

One of the major strengths of Melville's work is his meticulous research. Drawing extensively from Lady Montague's personal correspondence, Melville paints a vivid portrait of her experiences as a wife, a mother, and a friend. He skillfully weaves together her insightful observations on society, her sharp wit, and her unwavering determination to challenge existing norms.

Through her correspondence, we are transported to various corners of the world. From her time spent in Istanbul, where she was the wife of the British ambassador, to her extensive travels throughout Europe, Lady Montague's letters offer a unique perspective on cultural differences, customs, and practices. Melville's incorporation of these letters allows readers to not only understand the historical context in which Lady Montague lived but also appreciate her sharp intellect and keen observations.

Melville also brings to light Lady Montague's significant contributions to the field of medicine. Her openness to experimental immunization against smallpox, and subsequent advocacy for its use, was groundbreaking for her era. Melville meticulously explores the controversy surrounding her methods and the impact of her efforts in combating this devastating disease. By doing so, he showcases how Lady Montague ultimately revolutionized the medical field and saved countless lives through her pioneering work.

While Melville's biography is undoubtedly informative, it occasionally feels somewhat bogged down by an extensive emphasis on detail. At times, the narrative loses momentum, and readers may find themselves longing for a more streamlined approach to the storytelling. However, this minor drawback does not detract significantly from the overall enjoyment of the book.

In conclusion, Lewis Melville's Lady Mary Wortley Montague: Her Life and Letters (1689-1762) offers a captivating account of a woman who defied societal expectations, challenged prevailing notions, and left an indelible mark on history. Through extensive research and insightful analysis, Melville brings Lady Montague to life, revealing a complex and captivating individual. This biography is a must-read for anyone interested in the 18th-century social and intellectual landscape, women's history, or the power of the written word to shape society.

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Her Life and Letters (1689 1762)






Lady Mary Wortley Montagu has her niche in the history of medicine as having introduced inoculation from the Near East into England; but her principal fame is as a letter writer.

Of her gifts as a correspondent she was proud, and with reason. It was in all sincerity that in June, 1726, she wrote to her sister, Lady Mar: "The last pleasures that fell in my way was Madame Sévigné's letters: very pretty they are, but I assert, without the least vanity, that mine will be full as entertaining forty years hence. I advise you, therefore, to put none of them to the use of waste paper." And again, later in the year, she said half humorously to the same correspondent: "I writ to you some time ago a long letter, which I perceive never came to your hands: very provoking; it was certainly a chef d'oeuvre of a letter, and worthy any of the Sévigné's or Grignan's, crammed with news." That Lady Mary's belief in herself was well founded no one has disputed. Even Horace Walpole, who detested her and made attacks on her whenever possible, said that "in most of her letters the wit and style are superior to any letters I have ever read but Madame de Sévigné's... Continue reading book >>

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