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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Margaret Cavendish

b. 1623 (?), near Colchester, Essex, England; d. 1673, Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire, England

Margaret Cavendish (née Lucas), a bold and prolific writer with wide-ranging interests, published twenty-two works in her lifetime. Not only did she address subjects such as science, feminism, and philosophy, but she also wrote poetry, plays, and science fiction. Lady Newcastle, as she was called upon marrying William Cavendish, marquis of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1645, faced much criticism throughout her life. Some charged her with madness, others ridiculed her for her outrageous manner of dress. Her writing, also the subject of much criticism in her day, included Observations upon Experimental Philosophy (1666) and The Description of a New World, Called the Blazing-World (1668), which is considered the first work of science fiction written by a woman