The engrossing life story of Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle--the seventeenth-century Englishwoman who was famous, and infamous, for daring to pursue a career as a published writer. For a seventeenth-century Englishwoman, Margaret (Lucas) Cavendish did the unprecedented --she published her writing. Her extraordinary life unfolded during the English Civil Wars, when she was exiled to Paris and Antwerp as a Royalist seeking refuge from Cromwell's England, and later as mistress of her husband's estate in Newcastle after the restoration of the monarchy. In exile, she began to write and publish her poetry and essays, influenced by a Royalist cultural world that included Hobbes and Descartes. Despite the scandal her writing life caused, she eventually brought out thirteen books, ranging from Poems and Fancies, the first book of poetry published by a woman under her own name, to Blazing World, the first science fiction by a woman. A lively biography and a window on the tumultuous cultural life of the seventeenth century, Mad Madge reveals there may well have been a "Judith Shakespeare" centuries before Virginia Woolf exhorted women to find "a room of one's own. " Katie Whitaker draws on the extensive collection of Margaret's letters and legal papers to draw a vibrant and complete picture of the pioneering "Mad Madge. "
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