Margaret Cavendish (?1623–1673)
in Women poets of the English Civil War
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This chapter presents poems of Margaret Cavendish who was born around 1623 to the Lucas family of Essex. Her early works were poetry and short essays, followed by plays, philosophical and fictional letters, and prose fiction in both romance and experimental modes. Cavendish's poems, mostly published in the 1650s, reflect the tensions, philosophical, and ethical questions raised by Civil War. Cavendish's first two publications were collections of poetry which also included prefaces explaining her theories of authorship, publication, and poetics. These include some of the period's most explicit statements about the status of women writers. Like Lucy Hutchinson's life of her husband, Cavendish's biography of her husband is a history of the Civil War and a defence of her family's own involvement.

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