Joan Overfield's A Spirited Bluestocking

In Joan Overfield's A Spirited Bluestocking, the heroine is a self-identified bluestocking, with part of the evidence being that she loves Shakespeare: " 'And a bluestocking,' Mr. Sailing supplied eagerly. 'She was throwing Shakespeare and Milton at my head when she wasn't spouting Latin at her brother'"(9). She even imagines sending the hero, Lord Seabrook, a "parody of one of Shakespeare's sonnets" (16).

Naturally the hero and heroine are proven to be mutually compatible when he not only has a Shakespeare garden but also quotes Shakespeare to her. He further identifies his role as patriot when the quotation he offers is the comments of John of Gaunt:

She acknowledges this expertise in her unexpected praise of him later "'On the contrary, I have always found his lordship to be most intelligent,' she said, her voice cool. 'Only yesterday he quoted a particularly effective passage from Richard II'" (142-43).

This use of Shakespeare not only employs him as the measure of the pair's compatibility, but also shows how the status of the heroine as intellectual functions as both obstacle and enabler of romance, especially in late twentieth-century models of the romance heroine.

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