Margaret the First: A Novel

Margaret the First: A Novel

by Danielle Dutton

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781936787357
Publisher: Catapult
Publication date: 03/15/2016
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 123,049
Product dimensions: 8.10(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author


Danielle Dutton’s fiction has appeared in magazines such as Harper’s, BOMB, Fence, and Noon. She is the author of a collection of hybrid prose pieces, Attempts at a Life, which Daniel Handler in Entertainment Weekly called “indescribably beautiful,” and an experimental novel, S P R A W L, a finalist for the Believer Book Award. In 2015, she wrote the texts for Here Comes Kitty: A Comic Opera, an artists’ book with collages by Richard Kraft.

Dutton holds a PhD in Literature and Writing from the University of Denver, an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BA in History from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Prior to her current position on the creative writing faculty at Washington University in St. Louis, she taught in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa and was the book designer at Dalkey Archive Press.

In 2010, Dutton founded the small press Dorothy, a publishing project, named for her great aunt Dorothy Traver, a librarian who drove a bookmobile through the back hills of southern California. Now in its fifth year, the press’s books are widely reviewed. The press itself has been praised in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune, and Dutton has been interviewed in the Paris Review, Kirkus, and elsewhere for her work promoting innovative women writers.

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Margaret the First: A Novel 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There's some playing with perspective and intertextuality, but for the most part Dutton's novel is devoid of anything very experimental, and what is there isn't especially new or interesting. Despite the trappings of Bold Contemporary Literature (a lack of interest in traditional character development or plot structure and sparse prose with the occasional flash), Margaret the First feels fairly conservative and uninspired in its form. I read the novel as an attempt to demystify the figure of Margaret Cavendish, to humanize a historical figure who suffers now from the same symbol-making that she did in her own time, being reduced from a complex individual to a "historical figure." This was especially interesting considering that to develop the interest with Margaret Cavendish in the first place Dutton herself must've been guilty, to some degree, of the same thing she writes in opposition to. So there's a sort of friction at work between novel and author. Unfortunately the novel itself was tedious, as the narrative moved from box to box on its checklist of historical moments to cover. The character of Margaret was a little simple for a character study, especially one intended (in my reading, at least) to criticize oversimplifications of character. It almost felt like the novel itself was bored toward the end, and concluded predictably and lazily. I don't know who the audience is for this book, but I guess I wasn't it.
Laura_Allen More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written account of an amazing woman.