Paper Bodies: A Margaret Cavendish Reader

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Broadview Press, Jan 20, 2000 - Fiction - 332 pages
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Margaret Cavendish was one of the most subversive and entertaining writers of the seventeenth century. She invented new genres, challenged gender roles, and critiqued the new science as well as the mores of society. “Paper Bodies” was the wonderful phrase she used to described her manuscripts, which she hoped would continue to make “a great Blazing Light” after her death. There are connections here to Cavendish’s most famous work, The Description of a New World, Called the Blazing World (1666), a unique tale of a woman travelling through the north pole to a strange new world.

In addition to The Blazing World, this volume includes Cavendish’s brief autobiography, A True Relation of My Birth, Breeding and Life (1667), her play The Convent of Pleasure, and selections from her Sociable Letters, her poetry, and her critical writings. A variety of background documents by other seventeenth-century writers helps to set her work in context for the modern reader.


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A Brief
A True Relation of my Birth Breeding and Life 1656
Selections from CCXI Sociable Letters 1664
Preface to Orations of Divers Sorts 1662
The Convent of Pleasure 1668
Preface to the Reader The Worlds Olio 1655
Female Orations from Orations of Divers Sorts 1662
Women and the New Science

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About the author (2000)

Sylvia Bowerbank holds a joint apointment in the Arts and Science Programme and the English Department at McMaster University.

Sara Mendelson is a historian who teaches in the Arts and Science Programme at McMaster University.

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