Margaret Lucas, Lady Cavendish
1623-1673
Metaphysics, Philosophy of Science



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In her 43 years, Margaret Cavendish attempted to change the place of women in the intellectual world. She established a 'semy circle' of women to discuss ideas and published a large body of works.

Chronology

1623 Margaret Cavendish is the eighth child born to Elizabeth and Thomas Lucas in Colchester, England. As a child she began writing short books.

1625 Death of James I and the accession of Charles I

1643 - 1645 She went to court as Maid of Honor to Queen Henrietta Maria but is inept at court behavior. When the Queen flees to France, Margaret goes with her.

1645 She marries William Cavendish, Marquis of Newcastle in Paris .

1653 Philosophical Fancies and Poetical Fancies published

1656 Publishes Natures Pictures Drawn by Fancies Pencil to The Life which contains a chapter, "The True Relation of My Birth, Breeding and Life." Philosophical and Physical Opinions also published.

1660 - They return to England and live in Newcastle on the Marquis now ruined estate.

1662 Publishes Playes and Orations of Divers Persons

1663 Philosophical and Physical Opinions published.

1664 Publishes Philosophical Letters: or, Modest Reflections upon some Opinions in Natural Philosophy, Maintained by Several Famous and Learned Authors of this Age. which includes sections on Hobbes, Descartes

1666 Publishes Observations upon Experimental Philosophy in which she again argues for reason to govern human beings.

1667 She requests attendance at the Royal Society. After much discussion she allowed to attend the day that Robert Boyle presents experiments. The Life of the Thrice noble, high and puissant Prince, William Cavendish... is published.

1668 She publishes two works of science fiction: Descriptions of a New World, The Blazing World and Grounds of Natural Philosophy.

1673 Margaret Cavendish dies. She is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Works

A Selected list of works(See the bibliographies below for complete lists.)

1653 Poems and Fancies ; Philosophical Fancies.

1655 Philosophical and Physical Opinions

1656 Natures Pictures Drawn by Fancies Pencil to The Life, with chapter :" The True Relation of My Birth, Breeding and Life".

1662 Plays and Orations of Divers Persons

1663 Philosophical and Physical Opinions

1664 Philosophical Letters: or, Modest Reflections upon some Opinions in Natural Philosophy, Maintained by Several Famous and Learned Authors of this Age.

1666 The Description of a New World, Called the Blazing World

1666 Observations upon Experimental Philosophy and Miscellaneous works.

Works available on line:

A radio program from the University of Houston is available at Margaret Cavendish

There is a bibliography at Bibliography: Cavendish

Another compiled by James Fitzmaurice of Northern Arizona University; The University of Sheffield can be found at Margaret Cavendish Bibliography

Sources I want to acknowledge: http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/philosophers/cavendish.html


Margaret Cavendish is one of more than 100 women featured in A Pictorial History of Women Philosophers photo album, and in Busted!! A Pictorial History of Women Philosophers, Vol. 2.

This page was last updated 12/13/14.

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