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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Authors

Margaret Cavendish

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Margaret Cavendish

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Full Name: Margaret Cavendish
Born: Colchester, Essex, England
Occupation: philosopher, writer
Nationality: English


Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1623-1673) was an English aristocrat, philosopher, poet, scientist, fiction-writer, and playwright during the 17th century. Born Margaret Lucas, in Colchester, England, she was the daughter of wealthy landowner, Thomas Lucas. She became a Lady in Waiting to Queen Henrietta Maria and travelled with her into exile in France, living for a time at the court of the young King Louis XIV. She married William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1645.

Cavendish was a poet, philosopher, writer of prose romances, essayist, and playwright who published under her own name at a time when most women writers published anonymously. Her writing addressed a number of topics, including gender, power, manners, scientific method, and philosophy. Her utopian novel, The Blazing World, is considered one of the earliest examples of science fiction. She is singular in having published extensively in natural philosophy and early modern science. She published over a dozen original works; inclusion of her revised works brings her total number of publications to twenty-one.

Cavendish has been championed and criticized as a unique and groundbreaking woman writer. She was the first woman to attend a meeting at the Royal Society of London, in 1667, and she criticized and engaged with members and philosophers Thomas Hobbes, René Descartes, and Robert Boyle. She has been claimed as an advocate for animals and as an early opponent of animal testing.

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