1st Edition

God and Nature in the Thought of Margaret Cavendish

    Only recently have scholars begun to note Margaret Cavendish’s references to 'God,' 'spirits,' and the 'rational soul,' and little has been published in this regard. This volume addresses that scarcity by taking up the theological threads woven into Cavendish’s ideas about nature, matter, magic, governance, and social relations, with special attention given to Cavendish’s literary and philosophical works. Reflecting the lively state of Cavendish studies, God and Nature in the Thought of Margaret Cavendish allows for disagreements among the contributing authors, whose readings of Cavendish sometimes vary in significant ways; and it encourages further exploration of the theological elements evident in her literary and philosophical works. Despite the diversity of thought developed here, several significant points of convergence establish a foundation for future work on Cavendish’s vision of nature, philosophy, and God. The chapters collected here enhance our understanding of the intriguing-and sometimes brilliant-contributions Cavendish made to debates about God’s place in the scientific cosmos.

    Chapter 1 Introduction; Chapter 2 Claims to Orthodoxy, Hilda L.Smith; Chapter 3 The God of Nature and the Nature of God, SaraMendelson; Chapter 4 Darkness, Death, and Precarious Life in Cavendish’s Sociable Letters and Orations, Joanne H.Wright; Chapter 5 God and the Question of Sense Perception in the Works of Margaret Cavendish, Brandie R.Siegfried; Chapter 6 Paganism, Christianity, and the Faculty of Fancy in the Writing of Margaret Cavendish, JamesFitzmaurice; Chapter 7 Fideism, Negative Theology, and Christianity in the Thought of Margaret Cavendish, Lisa T.Sarasohn; Chapter 8 Brilliant Heterodoxy, LineCottegnies; Chapter 9 “A double Perception in All Creatures”, StephenClucas; Chapter 10 Natural Magic in The Convent of Pleasure, JohnShanahan; Chapter 11 Margaret Cavendish’s Cabbala, C. PerrinRadley; Chapter 12 Margaret Cavendish and the Jews, SaraMendelson; Chapter 13 “Soulified”, Brandie R.Siegfried;


    Brandie R. Siegfried is Nan Osmond Grass Professor of English Literature at Brigham Young University, USA. Lisa T. Sarasohn is Emeritus Professor of History, Oregon State University, USA.

    "They together succeed in capturing the power and eclecticism of Cavendish's thought, while suggesting promising avenues for future research." -- Kathryn Morris, University of King's College, Nova Scotia