Collection: Margaret Cavendish

Margaret Cavendish (1623–1673) was the most prolific woman writer of the Restoration. Born in Essex into a wealthy but untitled family, in 1643 she became maid of honor to Queen Henrietta Maria. At the outbreak of the First English Civil War, Margaret accompanied the queen in her exile to France; in Paris she met William Cavendish, First Duke of Newcastle, and the two were married in 1645. While the couple lived on the Continent—in Paris, Rotterdam, and Antwerp—Margaret began writing poetry and philosophical essays, and on a visit back to England to petition for her husband’s estate, she published Poems, and Fancies (1651) and Philosophicall Fancies (1653). A fashionable eccentric, for the next two decades she wrote poems, stories, plays, romances, biographies, memoirs, natural philosophy, scientific treatises, and, with Description of a New World, Called the Blazing World (1666), one of the earliest works of science fiction. In 1667, she was the first woman invited to attend a meeting of the Royal Society of London. After her death, her husband published a collection of pieces that had been written in her praise, Letters and Poems in Honour of the Incomparable Princess, Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle.
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