Sociable Letters by Professor Margaret, Dutchess of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Cavendish


Sociable Letters by Professor Margaret, Dutchess of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Cavendish

The writings of Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, are remarkable for their vivid depiction of the mores and mentality of seventeenth-century England. This edition includes all of Cavendish's Sociable Letters (1664), a collection of writings that comments on a wide range of aspects of seventeenth-century society, such as war and peace, science and medicine, English and Classical literatures, and social issues such as choosing a spouse, married life, infidelity, divorce, and the option of women not to marry. This Broadview edition includes: A critical introduction and a valuable selection of primary documents that situate Margaret Cavendish and Sociable Letters within the context of English letter writing and other early women writers. The appendices contain the letters Cavendish wrote during her courtship with William Cavendish; letters by two family members, Elizabeth Cavendish Egerton and Christiana Cavendish; letters written by Aphra Behn, Dorothy Osborne, and Angel Day; and an essay by Francis Bacon.


This is a fine edition of Margaret Cavendish's most engaging and accessible work. The text is reliable, the annotations are helpful, and the volume contains an extremely useful appendix of letters by Cavendish and various other family members. The volume will be a great resource for those with an interest in early modern literature, history, and women's writing. James Fitzmaurice is an excellent scholar and the annotations in this edition reflect many years of painstaking work on Cavendish's writings and their context. -- Paul Salzman, LaTrobe University

This is a welcome edition of one of Margaret Cavendish's most multifaceted and engaging works by a leading scholar of Cavendish. Not only is it an important text for early modern women's writing, but it provides a varied and detailed commentary on seventeenth-century English culture and society. Cavendish's innovative use of the epistolary form, successful in its own right, anticipates the appeal of the form to novelists in the eighteenth century. The introduction and appendices offer helpful contexts for a fuller understanding of the work. -- Mihoko Suzuki, University of Miami

About the Author

James Fitzmaurice is a Professor of English at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff.

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Book Info


336 pages


Professor Margaret, Dutchess of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Cavendish
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Publication date

1st June 2004



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