Scott, Sarah

Tagged: Author

(1720-1795) UK historian and author, younger sister of the author Elizabeth Montagu (1718-1800) who until recent years was very much the better known, being noted for works in her own right and for the salon she dominated. Scott's literary career began with a novel, The History of Cornelia (1750), which has no fantastic element. She is of sf interest primarily for her Utopia, A Description of Millenium Hall [sic; for full title see Checklist below] (1762), published anonymously like all her work, in which a group of women – independent partly through their deliberate estrangement from male definitions of their proper place and role, including marriage (see Feminism; Women in SF) – establish a community with the power to enact agrarian reforms in the neighbouring country, and who are free enough of male constraints to speak freely about various issues. It is likely that a model for the free discourse presented in the text was her sister's bluestocking salons, "bluestocking" referring to casual attire rather than moral rigidity. The precepts and living arrangements of the novel were reasserted in a second utopia, The History of Sir George Ellison (1766 2vols; vt The Man of Real Sensibility; Or, the History of Sir George Ellison 1774) anonymous, in which widespread social and economic reforms are promulgated with calm but unrelenting cogency. Scott's work influenced Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797), the mother of Mary Shelley; in the nineteenth and most of the twentieth century, he works were generally attributed to men. [JC]

Sarah Scott

born Hutton Magna, Yorkshire: 21 September 1720

died Catton, Norfolk: 3 November 1795

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