Tag Archive for Enlightenment

Eleonora de Fonseca Pimental

By Julieta Almeida Rodrigues Eleonora de Fonseca Pimental (Rome, 1752-Naples, 1799) Eleonora Anna Feliz Teresa de Fonseca Pimentel was a notable poet, activist, journalist, and revolutionary, acknowledged worldwide for her role in the 1799 Neapolitan Revolution.[1]  She was born of Portuguese noble parents, Dom Clemente Henriques Fonseca Pimentel Chaves and Catherina Lopez de Leão, in Rome in…

Catherine (Kitty) Clive

By Lindsay Smith Catherine “Kitty” Clive (1711- 85) Born Catherine Raftor in London in 1711.[1] Her father, William Raftor, likely came from a wealthy Irish family that lost its fortune due to its support of King James II before the Glorious Revolution of 1688.[2] Although her father received a commission for serving in the French army…

Emilie Du Châtelet

  by Elizabeth Pearce Emilie Du Châtelet (1706-49) The Marquise Du Châtelet was born Gabrielle-Emilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil in Paris on December 17, 1706.[1] Her father, Louis Nicolas le Tonnelier de Breteuil served King Louis XIV as one of the noblesse de robe, men ennobled because of service to the king, while her mother,…

Mary Hays

by Gina Luria Walker Mary Hays (1759-1843) was a novelist, best known for her belief in radical feminism as an expression of enlightened Dissent, and her provocative history of women. She was born in 1759, into a family of Protestants who rejected the practices of the Church of England.[1] Hays was described as ‘the baldest…

Marie-Jeanne Phlippon Roland

    by Gina Luria Walker Marie-Jeanne ‘Manon’ Phlippon Roland 1754-1793 was a martyr of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. As a girl she was educated in traditional Roman Catholicism but quickly began a rigorous secular self-education. She learned to read at the age of four and devoted herself to Ancient writers, especially…

Mary Leapor

  Poems Upon Several Occasions (1748) by Mary Leapor   by Gina Luria Walker Mary Leapor 1722–1746 was an English poet, born in Marston St. Lawrence, Northamptonshire.   She was considered remarkable for being a talented working-class writer of the time.  Partly self-educated, she may have received some training at a local Dame school, or at the…

Phillis Wheatley

by Gina Luria Walker  Phillis Wheatley (1753 –1784) A slave girl of about seven or eight years old arrived in Boston in 1761, aboard a slaver, The Phillis.[1] She was a captive from somewhere along the Senegambian Coast in Africa, and her native language was Wolof.[2]  Based on the approximated location of her birth along…

Maria Rosa Coccia

by Marie Caruso Italian composer and teacher, Maria Rosa Coccia (1759-1833) was the first woman to achieve the qualification of Maestra di Capella (Chapel Master) of Rome.  What historians have most often remembered about her were not her accomplishments, but the controversy that developed over the publication of her extemporaneous entrance exam for the Accademia di S Cecilia. …

Mercy Otis Warren

    by Koren Whipp Mercy Otis Warren (1728–1814), poet, essayist, historian, and America’s earliest-known female playwright, produced satirical political commentary which influenced public opinion, rallied opposition to British oppression and celebrated rebel victories.  Mercy Otis was born in Barnstable, Massachusetts on September 14, 1728, eldest daughter of Mary Allyne Otis and James Otis Sr.,…

Mary Astell

By Penelope Whitworth Mary Astell (1666–1731), philosopher, rhetorician, and advocate for women’s education.   She was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, to Peter Astell , a coal merchant, and his wife, Mary, daughter of George Errington, also a coal merchant in Newcastle.[1] Her paternal uncle, Ralph Astell, curate of St Nicholas’s, Newcastle upon Tyne, was…

Laura Bassi

by Gina Luria Walker Laura Bassi (1711–1778) Laura Bassi’s achievements as experimental scientist, professor, wife, and mother were unprecedented, even in 18th Century Italy which enjoyed a unique tradition of learned women.  Bassi was unusual in being from a middleclass family. She was educated at home by a male tutor who provided traditional training in…

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