'Torment to a restlesse mind': an analysis of major themes in Poems and Fancies (1653) by Margaret Cavendish

Walker, Judith Elaine (1996). 'Torment to a restlesse mind': an analysis of major themes in Poems and Fancies (1653) by Margaret Cavendish. University of Birmingham. M.Phil.

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Margaret Cavendish's first publication is one of the least studied of her works, modern scholarly interest being focused largely on her plays. This thesis argues that Poems, and Fancies is as significant a piece of work as any material produced later in her prolific career.
Through the themes of writing, war, fairies and nature, Cavendish's poetry reveals a restless and frequently troubled mind as well as a highly individual imagination. Her desire to belong to the male worlds of the writer and the natural philosopher struggles with her desire to transcend those worlds by transforming perceived feminine weaknesses into strengths. The various manifestations of Cavendish's restlessness are examined through the chosen themes, which are considered also in the wider context of the complete work.
Cavendish's motivation is considered in the light of her relationship with William Cavendish, her longing for immortality and her knowledge that her writing would be harshly received by her contemporaries because she was female. The thesis concludes that the ultimate torment to her restless mind was the inability of the rest of the world to rise to her vision but that she successfully created a very individual literary space for herself that defies classification or received ideas of quality.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
College/Faculty: Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Arts
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, The Shakespeare Institute
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/3148


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