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Diana Potapenko

2005 Research

Abstract: Marriage, Feminism, and Equality in the Words of Margaret Cavendish

Mentor: Dr. Ann Le Bar, History Department

One of the most prolific writers of the later seventeen century, Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673) was renowned during her time. She was nicknamed "Mad Meg" for her notoriously eccentric political opinions, social, and feminist beliefs. Famously peculiar both in her flamboyant dress and in her worldly beliefs, she became known for her written words. She wrote a total of fourteen works on a broad selection of topics ranging from scientific and philosophical treatises, science fiction, a biography and autobiography, to essays, letters, memoirs, poetry, "orations," and several plays. Cavendish spent her life challenging the rules of science, society, and gender relations. A Royalist during the English Civil War, Margaret Lucas was Maid of Honor to Queen Henrietta Maria from 1643 to 1645. During her exile with the queen she met and married William Cavendish, thirty years her senior and a leader of the Royalist forces. The happy couple, eventually named the Duke and the Duchess of Newcastle, retired from court life and Margaret spent her years fighting against unequal power in domestic relations using the power of her pen. Her philosophical observation of the world resulted in her becoming the only woman of the time to visit the Royal Society in 1667.

Presentations

9th Annual Research & CW Symposium, EWU, May 17, 2006

5th Annual Hawaii Int'l Conference on Social Science; May 31-June3, 2006

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