Long before 1961, when Yuri Gagarin and Alan Shephard became the first humans to journey beyond Earth's atmosphere, writers envisioned spaceflight and life on other planets. These authors, all born before 1900, took their readers to the moon ... beyond ... and into our future.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Margaret Lucas Cavendish (1623-1673)

Margaret Lucas, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Lucas, was born in 1623 at St. John's Abbey, Essex, England. Her father was exiled for a time after a duel that resulted in the death of "one Mr. Brooks," and returned to England after being pardoned by King James in 1603.

Margaret became a maid of honour to Queen Henrietta Maria and, in 1644, accompanied her into exile in France where she lived for a time at the court of the young King Louis XIV. In 1645 she became the second wife of William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Cavendish notes that her husband liked her bashfulness and states that he was the only man she was ever in love with, loving him not for title, wealth or power, but for merit, justice, gratitude, duty and fidelity. She believes these to be attributes that will hold people together, even through misfortune. She further credits such qualities as assisting her husband and her family to endure the suffering they experienced as a result of their political allegiance. They had no children.

Read It HERE
Margaret was a poet, philosopher, writer of prose romances, essayist and playwright who published under her own name at a time when most women writers published anonymously. Her writing addressed a number of topics, including gender, power, manners, scientific method and philosophy.

Her Utopian romance, "The Blazing World", is one of the earliest examples of science fiction which, as noted by many, criticized and explored such issues as science, gender and power. Cavendish writes herself into the book, which details a fictional new world (not just a new continent but an entirely separate world) and its empress. She remarks in her epilogue to the reader that she herself is empress of the philosophical world. In fact, in Cavendish's epistle to the reader she remarks that, in much the same way as there is a Charles the first, she would be considered Margaret the first.

She published over a dozen original works; inclusion of her revised works brings her total number of publications to twenty one. Cavendish has been championed and criticized as a unique and groundbreaking woman writer. She rejected the Aristotelianism and mechanical philosophy of the 17th century, preferring a vitalist model instead. She criticized and engaged with the members of the Royal Society of London and the philosophers Thomas Hobbes, RenĂ© Descartes and Robert Boyle. She has been claimed as an advocate for animals and as an early opponent of animal testing.

Margarget died in x on 15 Dec 1673