A Woman to Know: Margaret Cavendish
|Julia Carpenter||Mar 23, 2016|
If I am condemned; I shall be annihilated to nothing; but my ambition is such as I would either be a world, or nothing. — Margaret
(the inside engraving to one of Margaret's works, image via Wikimedia Commons)
As Margaret Cavendish was writing poems, science fiction and 17th century treatises on physics, she also did something radical: she didn't publish under a pseudonym. She continued writing about utopia, dystopia, "modern" innovation (well, modern for then), female experience and philosophy under her own name.
And something even more radical: people read what she wrote. They called her mad and they harassed her — but they read it. Her psychedelically feminist novel, "The Blazing World," is often credited as the first popular work of science fiction written by a woman.
But I love her out-of-mind poetry most of all. My favorite of Margaret Cavendish's poems is "Of Many Worlds," which ends with these five lines:
What several worlds might in an earring be:
For millions of those atoms may be in
The head of one small, little, single pin.
And if thus small, then ladies may well wear
A world of worlds, as pendants in each ear.
Add to your reading list:
Margaret the First (Danielle Dutton)
Utopian and Science Fiction by Women: Worlds of Difference (Jane L. Donawerth and Carol A. Kolmerten)
The Blazing World (Margaret Cavendish)
Paper Bodies (Margaret Cavendish)
Margaret Cavendish on Project Vox (Duke University)
Philosophy's gender bias: for too long, scholars say, women have been ignored (The Washington Post)
Margaret Cavendish (The Poetry Foundation)
The Atomic poems of Margaret Cavendish (Emory University)
Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party: Margaret Cavendish (Brooklyn Museum)
The works of Margaret Cavendish (Luminarium)
The description of a new world, called The Blazing World (The New Yorker)
Poem of the Week: Of Many Worlds in this World (The Guardian)
Essays by Margaret Cavendish (Quotidiana)
*~Send your recommendations for women to know! Reply to this newsletter with your lady and she could be featured in an upcoming edition.~*
So many thanks to Sophie Brookover for recommending Margaret as a woman to know! FOREVER appreciative of her suggestions, and of the support from Two Bossy Dames. <3