Supporting Women Writers: Coteries as Feminist Praxis (Roundtable at ASECS Annual Conference, March 31-April 2, 2022, Baltimore, MD)
Eliza Haywood represents The Female Spectator as part of a coterie that acts as “several Members of one Body, of which [she is] the mouth.” Through this writing club, Haywood encapsulates the important role that such coteries played in circulating women’s writing in the long eighteenth century. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu circulated her travel writing for feedback in a letter-book within a close circle of friends and family members. This correspondence between women represented an opportunity to share work in a safe space. Co-writing groups remain a safe space and an essential resource for women to share work today. While digital writing groups are not traditionally thought of as coteries, both are communities that offer opportunities to share social connections and co-work in a safe space. The global pandemic has created a need and space for additional, virtual sources for community and collaboration--modern-day coteries. The recession triggered by Covid-19 measures has been dubbed the “sheecession” due to its disproportionate effect on women. What can we learn from the fictional and non-fictional representations of coteries from the eighteenth-century and beyond? How can modern-day coteries help women move forward in their writing? To open up possibilities for understanding women’s engagement in these groups as feminist praxis, this panel seeks proposals that take a trans-historical and intersectional feminist approach.