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Margaret Cavendish: Political Writings

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Overview

Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle (1623-1673) is unique among women writers of the seventeenth century in the scale of her output and in her aspiration to create a philosophical system. This edition presents Cavendish as a political author, and Susan James includes two major texts, the Orations and The Blazing World, accompanied by the standard series features that enables students to gain a better understanding of one of the truly distinctive political voices of the early modern period.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"If we forget the myth of Mad Madge and actually read her, we find not so much muddle and inconsistency as rhetorical skill deployed to generate a free play of ideas." Helen Hackett, Times Literary Supplement
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, was the first Englishwoman to publish a large body of literary and philosophical work in her own lifetime.

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Table of Contents

Preface; Introduction; Chronology of Margaret Cavendish; Further Reading; The Description of a New World, Called The Blazing World; Orations of Divers Sorts, Accommodated to Divers Places; Index.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2004

    easy to follow; almost modern English

    Throughout history, it has been very difficult to find writings by women, whatever the subjects of these writings. A scarcity that presisted typically till the end of the 19th century and the advent of industrialisation and universal education for both sexes. So what prior female writings that do exist are often distinguished by their mere existence. Like the essays of Margaret Cavendish, who lived in 17th century Britain. There have been other studies of her, but on her poetry and fiction. What James shows here is Cavendish's political bent. The book reproduces the full text of many of these essays. Fascinating reading. Cavendish was clearly an eloquent and facile writer. Plus the times in which she lived were turbulent. Her husband was a prominent Royalist in the Civil War, and they had to flee to Europe afterwards. In several essays, we see her Royalist sentiments most explicitly. Clearly, the years in exile must have torn at her, even if some of these years were self imposed, unlike for her husband. The wording in the essays is virtually modern English, with just a smattering of thou's and hath's. Much easier to read than Shakespeare, even though he was only a century hence.

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