Author photo. Courtesy of the <a href="http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?811778">NYPL Digital Gallery</a> (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

Courtesy of the NYPL Digital Gallery (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

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Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

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Margaret Cavendish, née Lucas, was born in Colchester, Essex, a daughter of a wealthy landowning, Royalist English family. Her early education was typical for a girl of her class and era: she was taught reading, writing, singing, dancing, music, and needlework. Later she received informal lessons in science and philosophy. She went to the court of King Charles I at Oxford in 1640 as a maid-of-honor to Queen Henrietta Maria, and followed the queen into exile in France during the English Civil War. In 1645, she married the courtier and author William Cavendish, future 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, as his second wife. During the Civil War, the couple lived in near-poverty in Paris and Antwerp, but returned to England and recovered their estates in the north after the Restoration of King Charles II. Margaret's eccentricities in dress and manner provoked some ridicule in fashionable society (she got the nickname "mad Madge"), and she persuaded her husband to retire from court. Between 1654 and 1668, she published more than 14 books, including some early science fiction and her own autobiography. Her works appeared under her own name at a time when most female writers could only publish anonymously. She died suddenly in 1673 at age 50.
Disambiguation notice
Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

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