Tuesday, 3 March 2009

the name of the rose

The Bluestocking title of choice is always Ms or Mss (like Mss Weatherwax), never Miss or Mrs (except for eighteenth century ladies, when Mrs meant simply an adult woman and did not denote married status).

Bluestocking first names tend to be robust - the sort of name you could travel round the world in - but never derived from masculine names.  Examples include Angharad, Ada, Alice, Octavia, Olivia, Olive, Elizabeth, Gloria, Damaris, Tallulah, Radclyffe, and so on, but never Charlotte, Henrietta, or Yvette.

A Bluestocking frequently has a middle initial, but never reveals what it stands for (to preserve her mystique you understand - it's this sort of thing that puts the fear of Goddess into the more timid variety of Chap, you see).

The Bluestocking surname, if double-barrelled, is never hyphenated.  For example, Augusta Ada Lovelace Byron.

Bluestockings frequently have nicknames, possibly expressing their particular literary or scientific bent.

The use of names and the preservation of mystique are minor branches of the art of Headology.

My Bluestocking name, just for the record, is Angharad V. Setherwood, known to the gels of my immediate circle as "Bunny".


  1. My real name is very Bluestocking, but I shall not reveal it here. Instead I shall be known henceforth as Isobel G. Sissinghurst, Otherwise known in my set as "Blossom".