Serious students of early-modern women writers surely know Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle (Essex, 1623 – Welbeck Abbey, Nottingham, 1673). A prolific producer in almost all 17th century literary genres, Duchess Margaret was an unusual, flamboyant, and fearless personality. Ever courting fame, she boldly asserted rank and access directly on the title-page of her many published works: “Written by the thrice noble, illustrious and excellent princesse the Duchess of Newcastle”. But this was also a forward-looking writer whose work thoughtfully engaged with the New Science, university-level education for women, and visionary worlds (science-fiction).
This summer, the Margaret Cavendish Society shall continue to honor the accomplishments of this remarkable woman in its Tenth Biennial International Cavendish Conference, this year at the Sundance Resort in Utah, July 12-14. With a conference theme of “The Art of Nature and the Nature of Art,” this gathering offers a rich selection of scholarly papers, awards & prizes, museum tours, displays, a keynote speaker, a festive banquet, and such special events as a costume presentation. The event is sponsored by the Cavendish Society, Brigham Young University, and the Renaissance Studies Group at Brigham Young. The event’s Organizing Committee includes such Cavendish stalwarts as Professors Brandie R. Siegfried, James Fitzmaurice, Sara H. Mendelson (current Society president), and Lisa T. Sarasohn. Launched at the June 1997 Cavendish Conference at Oxford (UK), the Society was established as a present-day steward of Margaret Cavendish studies. As the Society’s web site shows, this dedicated group, through its members’ publications, scholarly meetings, awards, online resources, and newsletters, fosters continuing conversation and research on Cavendish and her legacy.
Maureen E. Mulvihill (Princeton Research Forum, Princeton NJ) will be the Keynote Speaker of the 2013 Cavendish Conference in Sundance. A respected scholar and rare book collector (as well as a subscriber to Americana Exchange), Dr Mulvihill will speak on: “What Do You See? Frontispieces of Margaret Cavendish - Invention, Authority, Book Arts.” Her presentation will include a table display of rare books from her collection, each with its own frontis, and a distributed bibliography: “Literature & The Visual Arts.”