Abstract

While Robert Boyle and Thomas Hobbes fretted about the irregularity of nature, Margaret Cavendish celebrated it, leading many scholars to claim that she distanced herself from her male contemporaries by denying the existence of natural hierarchies. This article suggests, however, that her interest in irregularity aligns her with Lucy Hay and other noblewomen who argued that women's physiology made them natural rulers. Like Hay, the empress of The Blazing-World empowers herself by exploiting male anxieties about women's irregular bodies. Cavendish, moreover, asserts her own authority through a prose aesthetic intended to inspire a discomfited awe at her ungoverned fancy.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 123-141
Launched on MUSE
2007-02-19
Open Access
No
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