Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Elizabeth Carter

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Sir Thomas Lawrence. Elizabeth Carter, 1788–89. National Portrait Gallery, London

Elizabeth Carter
b. 1717, Deal, Kent, England; d. 1806, London

Elizabeth Carter was a member of the Bluestockings, a loose-knit group of society women who hosted informal gatherings for literary and political discussions. The idea for these "conversations" evolved out of a desire for more intellectually satisfying social engagements than the usual evenings of card playing. A well-educated woman, Carter knew Latin, Greek, and Hebrew and studied French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Arabic. Her own writing was published in two books: Poems upon Particular Occasions in 1738 and Poems on Several Occasions in 1762. Her translations, however, garnered fame and established her reputation, particularly All the Works of Epictetus Which Are Now Extant, written in 1749 and published in 1758.

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