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QMCECS Seminar: Katrina O’Loughlin: 26 October 2016

October 20, 2016

All welcome

26 October 2016

Katrina O’Loughlin
(University of Western Australia)

“The feeling of friendship”: Ekaterina Dashkova’s emotional and literary bonds

The Princess Ekaterina Romanovna Dashkova (1744-1810) is recognized as one of the leading figures of the Russian Enlightenment and eighteenth-century republic of letters. Between 1769 and 1783 Dashkova travelled widely in Western Europe and forged close connections with a range of literary and philosophical leading lights including William Robertson, Adam Smith, Hugh Blair, Adam Fergusson, Denis Diderot, Voltaire, and Benjamin Franklin. Appointed Director of the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg in 1783, Dashkova became the first woman to lead a national science academy. This paper explores the bond between Catherine the Great and ‘her unoffending friend, Catherine the Little’ (as Dashkova described herself), as an early model of the significance of female friendship. The same idealism, affection, and exchange of words went on to mark Dashkova’s international friendships, particularly her deep attachments to Anglo-Irish women Catherine Hamilton, and Martha and Katherine Wilmot. Through their exchange and preservation of letters and journals, and the collective composition of Dashkova’s Memoir, we begin to understand emotional bonds as literary and material practices, and to appreciate the eighteenth-century European ‘republic of letters’ as a network of affective attachments.

Chair: Markman Ellis
Venue: Seminar Room, Lock-Keeper’s Cottage Graduate Centre, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End, London, E1 4NS.

Convenors: Prof Markman Ellis, English (; Prof Colin Jones, History (; Prof Miles Ogborn, Geography (; Prof Amanda Vickery, History (, Prof Barbara Taylor, English and History (

[Travel instructions: take the Central Line or District Line to Mile End. Exit the tube station, turn left down Mile End Road, crossing the Burdett Road/Grove Road intersection, passing under the Mile End Green Bridge and over the canal, to the campus entrance at Westfield Way. The Lock-Keeper’s Cottage is the third building on the right].

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