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Margaret Cavendish
Gender, Science and Politics


  • Date Published: October 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107647718

£ 21.99

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About the Authors
  • It is often thought that the numerous contradictory perspectives in Margaret Cavendish's writings demonstrate her inability to reconcile her feminism with her conservative, royalist politics. In this book Lisa Walters challenges this view and demonstrates that Cavendish's ideas more closely resemble republican thought, and that her methodology is the foundation for subversive political, scientific and gender theories. With an interdisciplinary focus Walters closely examines Cavendish's work and its context, providing the reader with an enriched understanding of women's contribution to early modern scientific theory, political philosophy, culture and folklore. Considering also Cavendish's ideas in relation to Hobbes and Paracelsus, this volume is of great interest to scholars and students of literature, philosophy, history of ideas, political theory, gender studies and history of science.

    • Proposes a new perspective on Margaret Cavendish's political thought
    • The first book-length, interdisciplinary study of Cavendish, exploring the interconnections between her literature, science, politics and understandings of gender
    • Challenges the view that Cavendish advocated a conservative, royalist ideology
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book admirably demonstrates that Cavendish was a sophisticated thinker who actively engaged with, and fearlessly challenged, the dominant political and scientific ideas of her time. Walters' text is the result of much painstaking research and careful analysis – it will undoubtedly convince readers that Cavendish's philosophical vision was even more radical than previously thought.' Jacqueline Broad, Monash University, Victoria

    'Walters's book is most helpful in examining Cavendish's complex thinking in a new way … Recommended. Graduate students, researchers [and] faculty.' M. Cole, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107647718
    • length: 265 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Redefining gender in Cavendish's theory of matter
    2. Margaret Cavendish's fusion of Renaissance science, magic and fairy lore
    3. The politics of free will in The Blazing World: Hobbes, Paracelsus and absolute rule
    4. Margaret Cavendish the republican? Revolution and gender in Cavendish's romances
    Select bibliography

  • Author

    Lisa Walters, Liverpool Hope Universtiy
    Lisa Walters is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Ghent. Her research interests include the intersections between early modern literature, the history of science, philosophy and gender studies. She has published articles on Margaret Cavendish and Shakespeare in journals including Early Modern Literary Studies and Women's Writing. She is also President of the International Margaret Cavendish Society.

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