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Lovers and Epistles: Progressivism and Feminism in the Poetry of Lady Mary Wortley Montague

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  1. Introduction
  2. Montagu's views on the relationship
  3. Montagu's views on marriage
  4. Montagu's views on the divorce laws
  5. Conclusion

The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries of London were a time of formality and conservatism, especially among British women. But even in her early teens, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu went against the flow of society and taught herself Latin, according to the editors of the Seventh Edition of the Norton Anthology of English Literature (2579). This would not be the first and last time she would defy or speak out against the social constructs of her society, where women were forced to live in a hypocritical environment built by her male counterparts. Seeing this inequality, Lady Montague turned to her writing as a way to protest and put a spotlight on the plight of women. Two of her poems, ?The Lover: A Ballad? and ?Epistle from Mrs. Yonge to Her Husband? are two examples of how Montagu used her writing notoriety to convey her feminist message to her audience on the topics of marriage and divorce.

[...] Her sarcasm and tone in this poem are obviously meant to show how the current male-female relationship is almost laughable as compared to that of her ideal husband. Montagu is not saying this relationship will be one-sided, with the man giving everything to the woman. She is willing to compromise, saying even after the novelty of her new relationship wears off that she will still be kind to him and they will both have to work together to put up with each other's quirks. [...]


[...] Lovers and Epistles: Progressivism and Feminism in the Poetry of Lady Mary Wortley Montague The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries of London were a time of formality and conservatism, especially among British women. But even in her early teens, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu went against the flow of society and taught herself Latin, according to the editors of the Seventh Edition of the Norton Anthology of English Literature (2579). This would not be the first and last time she would defy or speak out against the social constructs of her society, where women were forced to live in a hypocritical environment built by her male counterparts. [...]

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