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The Blazing World and Other Writings (Penguin Classics)
 
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The Blazing World and Other Writings (Penguin Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Margaret Cavendish , Kate Lilley
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

Flamboyant, theatrical and ambitious, Margaret Cavendish was one of the seventeenth century's most striking figures: a woman who ventured into the male spheres of politics, science, philosophy and literature. The Blazing World is a highly original work: part Utopian fiction, part feminist text, it tells of a lady shipwrecked on the Blazing World where she is made Empress and uses her power to ensure that it is free of war, religious division and unfair sexual discrimination. This volume also includes The Contract, a romance in which love and law work harmoniously together, and Assaulted and Pursued Chastity, which explores the power and freedom a woman can achieve in the disguise of a man.

About the Author

Margaret Lucas Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle (1623 - 1673). A Royalist during English Civil War, Margaret Lucas was Maid of Honor to Queen Henrietta Maria from 1643 to 1645. She wrote a total of fourteen works on a broad selection of topics: scientific and philosophical treatises, science fiction, a biography, an autobiography, essays, letters, poetry, "orations", and several plays. Kate Lilley was born in Perth. She completed her doctorate on Masculine Elegy at the University of London and went on to postdoctoral research at St Hilda's College, Oxford as the Julia Mann Junior Research Fellow. She now teaches Literary History and Critical Theory at the University of Sydney. She has published many essays on contemporary Australian and American poetry, especially the work of John Tranter, and on 17th century women's writing.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 443 KB
  • Print Length: 263 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0140433724
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (March 31 1994)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9H20
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #7,793 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
Margaret Cavendish was the first woman to publish prolifically under her own name, but has been largely forgotten until very recently, with certain of her works coming back in to print for almost the first time since their release in the 17th century. Among them is The Blazing World, one of the most diverse works I have ever read, especially from a 17th century writer. Cavendish throws in practically every genre of her day into one book (barring drama and poetry), making for a unique read. Adventure/sci fi blends into a scientific Utopia a la Francis Bacon's New Atlantis, and moves further into classical and modern philosophy before finally returning to adventure/fantasy, and even autobiography as the author introduces herself as a character. Some of these concepts work better than others, with the more scientific sections being quite tedious at times (again a la Bacon), but also makes for interesting combinations, as she explores Neo Platonism in a fantasy context, with the souls of "Platonic friends" travelling freely of their bodies to visit friends in other worlds, a la Obi Wan Kenobi in The Empire Strikes Back. Most of Cavendish's ideas on their own are not particularly original, but come together in entertaining ways in this book. Perhaps the concept that worked best here is the overall theme of writing as wish fulfillment, as Cavendish creates a world where her personal wishes and fantasies come true in a light hearted way. This is the earliest novel in which I have felt a great sense of the author looking back out at the reader in a Ferris Bueller, tongue in cheek fashion, much like Virginia Woolf's Orlando, a novel written by an author who was certainly familiar with, and influenced by, Cavendish's work. And yes, this is definitely a novel, just as much as Defoe's dreary Robinson Crusoe is a novel, if not more so. And a much wittier novel at that.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite a forgotten classic, but deserves more attention July 1 2002
By Fredric Jameson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Margaret Cavendish was the first woman to publish prolifically under her own name, but has been largely forgotten until very recently, with certain of her works coming back in to print for almost the first time since their release in the 17th century. Among them is The Blazing World, one of the most diverse works I have ever read, especially from a 17th century writer. Cavendish throws in practically every genre of her day into one book (barring drama and poetry), making for a unique read. Adventure/sci fi blends into a scientific Utopia a la Francis Bacon's New Atlantis, and moves further into classical and modern philosophy before finally returning to adventure/fantasy, and even autobiography as the author introduces herself as a character. Some of these concepts work better than others, with the more scientific sections being quite tedious at times (again a la Bacon), but also makes for interesting combinations, as she explores Neo Platonism in a fantasy context, with the souls of "Platonic friends" travelling freely of their bodies to visit friends in other worlds, a la Obi Wan Kenobi in The Empire Strikes Back. Most of Cavendish's ideas on their own are not particularly original, but come together in entertaining ways in this book. Perhaps the concept that worked best here is the overall theme of writing as wish fulfillment, as Cavendish creates a world where her personal wishes and fantasies come true in a light hearted way. This is the earliest novel in which I have felt a great sense of the author looking back out at the reader in a Ferris Bueller, tongue in cheek fashion, much like Virginia Woolf's Orlando, a novel written by an author who was certainly familiar with, and influenced by, Cavendish's work. And yes, this is definitely a novel, just as much as Defoe's dreary Robinson Crusoe is a novel, if not more so. And a much wittier novel at that.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kindle version needs some work Aug. 23 2011
By William Barker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is specifically a reaction to the Kindle edition of Cavendish, which I just purchased (23 August 2011). Two obvious typos in my first 30 seconds of reading (locations 193, 2794). Come on Penguin! If you are going to be a serious leader in ebooks, clean things up. You are doing better than most, but your work is still sub-standard. Etexts should now be of the same quality as print. This is no reflection on the work of Kate Lilley the editor, or on the fascinating concoction of Margaret Cavendish's Blazing World, but on the sloppy conversion of this text. For prospective purchasers of this Kindle texts, I think despite my complaint you can go ahead. The book is readable, despite a few font errors and some obvious typos. It's not as bad as the Penguin Chaucer and some of the other poetry texts. My complaint is directly to the publisher, and I am probably wasting my time. Yet, without criticism, there will be no improvement.
3.0 out of 5 stars Very, Very Odd Feb. 1 2014
By Michael Byrd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Reading The Blazing World for class. I go back and forth on hating and loving it. There's not much of plot to this story (it's not that kind of story), and there's no character development. It's a funky sci-fi type of story about a very different world from ours and an Empress who eagerly wants to understand what things are all about. Question is, can you understand this Blazing World? Did I mention the interesting mix of feminism, LGBTQ, Kabbalah?
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They answered, that as it was natural for one body to have but one head, so it was also natural for a politic body to have but one governor; &quote;
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It is not fit, said they, that men and women should be promiscuously together in time of religious worship; for their company hinders devotion, and makes many, instead of praying to God, direct their devotion to their mistresses. But, asked the Empress, have they no congregation of their own, to perform the duties of divine worship, as well as men? No, answered they: but they stay at home, and say their prayers by themselves in their closets. &quote;
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Of the statesmen she enquired, first, why they had so few laws? To which they answered, that many laws made many divisions, which most commonly did breed factions, and at last break out into open wars. &quote;
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