The Blazing World and Other Writings
''The whole story of this Lady is a romance, and all she doth is romantic' Pepys‘The whole story of this Lady is a romance, and all she doth is romantic’ – Pepys
Flamboyant, theatrical, exuding ambiguous sexuality, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, was one of the seventeeth century's most striking figures, experimental in her personality as much as in her prolific writings.
Both 'The Contract' and 'Assaulted and Pursued Chastity' (from Nature's Pictures, 1656) are romances which play out the empowering possibilities of disguise or masking for women. The centrepiece of this collection is 'The Blazing World', the only known Utopian fiction by a seventeenth century woman writer, an inventive and extravagant portrayal of the rise of a woman to absolute power.