Collaborative Scholarship on the Margins: An Epistolary Network
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This article explores collaborative scholarship on the margins of intellectual life in eighteenth-century England via a close examination of George Ballard's collected correspondence from women letter-writers. Ballard was both a man of trade and an antiquary, and his modest social status inhibited his freedom to move in scholarly circles. Ballard's only published book documented the lives and works of "learned ladies" of Britain from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries, and his female correspondents included the Anglo-Saxon scholar Elizabeth Elstob. His collected correspondence provides an insight into a network that operated outside of the major institutions of scholarship and far from the coffee houses of metropolitan life, but which supported its participants in their intellectual endeavours. By examining the collection materially, and by plotting the correspondents geographically, a more precise picture can be drawn of how women and lower-status men could engage in intellectual life from the peripheries of scholarly society.
- networks, gender, antiquarianism, scholarship, regional networks, publishing, early modern