glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
home
arts
literature
social sciences
special features
discussion
about glbtq
   search

 
   Encyclopedia
   Discussion
 
 

   member name
  
   password
  
 
   
   Forgot Your Password?  
   
Not a Member Yet?  
   
JOIN TODAY. IT'S FREE!

 
  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy
  Copyright

 

 

 

 

 
literature

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

     
Scott, Sarah (1723-1795)  

The eighteenth-century novelist Sarah Scott challenges the sex-gender system of her society and claims narrative authority for women loving women.

The details of Sarah (Robinson) Scott's private life are becoming increasingly familiar. Born in 1723 to an established Yorkshire family, Sarah Robinson began writing at an early age; her sister, with whom she was close, was the famous "bluestocking" Elizabeth Montague; in 1748, she met Lady Barbara Montague (no relation to her sister), the daughter of the first earl of Halifax and his wife Lady Mary Lumley, with whom she maintained an intimate relation until Lady Barbara's death in 1765.

Sponsor Message.

In 1751, Sarah Robinson married George Lewis Scott, and she separated from him in 1752. Her first novel, The History of Cornelia, appeared in 1750. Between 1750 and her death in 1795, Sarah Scott published four more novels and three histories.

Millenium Hall (1762) was her most popular work. Millenium Hall attempts to challenge the "sex-gender system" by working within the structure of exemplary narratives, such as were popular in midcentury, to offer an alternative to male-oriented interpretations of female sexual power.

In doing so, Scott challenges as well our conceptions of female sexuality in the eighteenth century and our preconceptions concerning female-female relations within that extraordinarily imprecise category of "romantic friendship," which flourished throughout the later eighteenth century.

In Millenium Hall, Scott offers a narrative form that challenges patriarchy with the tales of a group of women who remain at the end of their romantic adventures "happily unmarried." Although nominally written as a letter from "a gentleman on his travels," the novel establishes an elaborate strategy to resist the authority of the patriarchal narrative voice.

Scott's seemingly crude arrangement of internal
narration--the novel consists of a series of tales told by or about the inhabitants of Millenium Hall--represents the most obvious of her techniques: The tales create a female subject position within the text in order to undermine the "romance plot" that was already strong enough to determine popular expectation. By challenging the conventions of romantic narrative, Scott is able to reconceive their ideological range.

In her personal life, Sarah Scott found an alternative to the ruthlessly limited possibilities available to women in the eighteenth century. In this novel, she dramatizes this discovery in a way that claims narrative authority for women loving women and offers women in general an escape from the prison-house of patriarchal narrative.

George E. Haggerty

     

    
 interact  
   
Contact Us
 
Join the Discussion
 
 find 
   
Related Entries
 
More Entries by this contributor
 
A Bibliography on this Topic

 
Citation Information
 
More Entries about Literature
 
   
spacer
Popular Topics:

Social Sciences

 
Stonewall Riots
Stonewall Riots


Gay Liberation Front


The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980
The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980


Leather Culture


Anthony, Susan B.
Anthony, Susan B.


Africa: Sub-Saharan, Pre-Independence


Androgyny
Androgyny


Russia


Computers, the Internet, and New Media


Radicalesbians

 
 


   Related Entries
  
literature >> Overview:  Romantic Friendship: Female

Until the beginning of the twentieth century, intimate, exclusive, and often erotic romantic friendships between women were largely perceived as normal and socially acceptable.


    Bibliography
   

De Lauretis, Teresa. Alice Doesn't: Feminism, Semiotics, Cinema. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984.

DuPlessis, Rachel Blau. Writing Beyond the Ending: Narrative Strategies of Twentieth-Century Women Writers. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985.

Faderman, Lillian. Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love Between Women from the Renaissance to the Present. New York: Morrow, 1981.

Farwell, Marilyn R. "Heterosexual Plots and Lesbian Subtexts: Toward a Theory of Lesbian Narrative Space." Lesbian Texts and Contexts. Karla Jay and Joanne Glasgow, eds. New York: New York University Press, 1990. 91-103.

Mavor, Elizabeth. The Ladies of Llangollen: A Study in Romantic Friendship. London: Michael Joseph, 1971.

Nussbaum, Felicity. "Feminotopias: The Pleasures of 'Deformity' in Mid-Eighteenth-Century England." The Body and Physical Difference. David Mitchell and Sharon L. Snyder, eds. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997. 161-173.

Spencer, Jane. The Rise of the Woman Novelist, From Aphra Behn to Jane Austen. Oxford: Blackwell, 1986.

Todd, Janet. Female Friendship in Literature. New York: Columbia University Press, 1980.

_____. The Sign of Angellica: Women, Writing and Fiction, 1660-1800. London: Virago, 1989.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Haggerty, George E.  
    Entry Title: Scott, Sarah  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated November 18, 2002  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/literature/scott_s.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates  
 

 

This Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates

www.glbtq.com is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.