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Old 04-26-2012, 04:48 PM
Kimberly Poitevin Kimberly Poitevin is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: massachusetts
Posts: 500

I did some work on Cavendish back in graduate school-- she was an incredibly prolific writer in her day. In addition to volumes of poetry, she published a novel called "The Blazing World" (some go as far even to call it the first sci-fi novel ever written) and 2 huge folios of plays (complete with opening letters to the reader that parody those in Ben Jonson's folio).

She had a huge interest in science and was the first woman to be allowed into the Royal Society of London (where I know she watched Boyle do some experiments and probably others-- my memory fails me). It's also worth noting that at the end of her biography of her husband she includes an autobiography of herself! She was someone very aware of how writers (like Ben Jonson) constructed personae for themselves and I think she had a lot of fun constructing her own. I think that's part of what she's doing in the passage Williamb quotes-- and I don't think it would be so far off to call Cavendish a proto-feminist, either. She knows how women are perceived and so deliberately downplays herself, but it's very tongue-in-cheek.

(see also Wendy Wall's fascinating The Imprint of Gender: Authorship and Publication in the English Renaissance)

fantastic to see people talking of her here!
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