Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle

(2676 words)

Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, was part of a tradition of aristocratic women writers that included Elizabeth Cary (Lady Falkland), Lady Mary Wroth, and Mary Sidney Herbert (Countess of Pembroke). Cavendish, however, was unlike these late-Tudor and early-Stuart predecessors in that she saw to it that a great deal of her writing was published, some 13 books in 22 editions. The publication of her writing made Cavendish into what we today would understand to be a literary celebrity. Dorothy Osborne, in a letter composed in the early 1650s, said that she knew that Cavendish’s recently published book of poetry was “extravagant”, i.e., decidedly unusual and probably odd. Nevertheless, Osborne was caught up in the …

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Fitzmaurice, James. "Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 January 2011
[, accessed 01 July 2015.]