The Intellectual Life of Elizabeth Elstob (1683–1756): Community, Patronage, and Production


  • Leonie Hannan Queen's University


Intellectual Community, Networks, Gender, Anglo-Saxon Scholarship, Antiquarianism, Patronage, Publishing, Leonie Hannan, HIC, 2014, 2016


Using the central case study of Anglo-Saxon scholar and schoolmistress Elizabeth Elstob (1683–1756), this article explores the factors that fostered, as well as those that inhibited, intellectual achievement in the eighteenth century. Over her lifetime, Elstob experienced a series of contrasting circumstances; at such moments of change larger forces become visible. By analysing her letter-writing alongside published works — and through comparison with other intellectuals, their networks, and their experiences of cultural production — the interplay of community, patronage, and production is illuminated.

Author Biography

Leonie Hannan, Queen's University

Leonie Hannan is a Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century History at Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland and she specialises in social and cultural history with an emphasis on gender, material culture and intellectual life. Her research has explored the role of letter-writing in women's engagement with the life of the mind in this period and she examines the home as a site of informal intellectual enquiry for a wide range of actors, tracing the connections between the domestic and the investigative.