Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2016 Issue

Old Books / New Editions. Part III of III. New Work on Margaret Cavendish’s "The Blazing World" (1666; 2016)


Welcome to this third and final installment in my Guest Series on new editions of 17th-century women writers. This last essay discusses an extraordinary figure whose writings are a rich weave of interests, from feminism, politics, and education, to astronomy, astrology, and cosmography. This is none other than the remarkable Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle (c1623-1673), a writer of many qualities who took English literature to a whole new level. She owned a telescope. She collected optical lenses. She designed her own (lavish) couture. Her visit to the new London Royal Society in 1667 was a sensation. Confident in her abilities and certain of “a glorious Fame”, she published under her own name and her record of publication (plays, poetry, essays, letters, prose fiction, autobiography) was substantial. She described her manuscripts as “paper Bodies”, living things creating “a great Blazing Light” after her death. (An expanding cohort of advocates would say: Yea, she was right!) Her masterpiece and signature work is an astonishing futuristic text, The Blazing-World (London, 1666, 1668), considered the first-ever science fiction novel written and published by a woman writer. It is now available in a new edition for 21st-century readers, prepared by Sara H. Mendelson, a respected scholar on Cavendish and a former president of the Margaret Cavendish Society. Fasten your seatbelts, Duchess Margaret will take you right out of this world. < Click here for essay > 

Posted On: 2016-12-14 03:17
User Name: mairin111

13th December 2016
Auburn Hills, Michigan
Posting for F. Abramson, Auburn Hills, MI.

May I thank Rare Book Hub and M. Mulvihil for this fascinating series, especially the last piece on the unusual Duchess of Newcastle. I am not a collector, nor a scholar, but I am interested in editing an anthology on early women chemists. The editorial methodologies discussed in this series are like a gift to me, like a how-to graduate seminar. So my thanks to all of you. The essays are beautifully constructed and richly informative. Keep up the good work, everyone ~ F. Abramson, Auburn Hills, MI. 13th December 2016.

Posted On: 2016-12-14 17:42
User Name: mairin111

Posting for Ann M. Bogle, Writer, Minneapolis.
Via Skype. 14th December 2016.

As I posted last evening on the esteemed Margaret Cavendish Society List: This essay, with its photographic (illustrative) display, is so enticing. It completely excites me to discover this imaginative 17th-century woman writer and to now have a chance to know more about her special ('galactic') book. I have now read a few pages, finding it genuinely enjoyable & informative, but not in an antiquated way, not in a way that fails to achieve the level of men writers of Cavendish's era: not at all! The Duchess's "fantastical" novel seems readable, approachable, endearing...a classic. So our thanks to Maureen Mulvihill & her host, Mr McKinney, for admirable dedication & commitment in getting up this superb guest series. Clearly, a service to scholars planning editions, and to editors at publishing houses, as well. Best of the season, everyone, AMBogle, Writer, MN.

Posted On: 2016-12-14 19:50
User Name: alice185

Many thanks for this beautifully done essay, with its wonderful opening anecdote. The whole series has been a great source of information on current work in the field. Alice Browne.

Posted On: 2016-12-14 22:37
User Name: mairin111

Posting for June Harrison, Photographer, Manhattan.
Via Skype. Wednesday, December 14, 2016.

What a readable, almost leather-bound, tour de force! Your entire series, Maureen, is so beautifully presented and detailed. And useful (useful!) to scholarly editors & publishers.
All three essays are lively and lovely. You really kept up the momentum, too -- brava! And that Duchess of Newcastle, what an 'original'. She sounds like a rock star of her day. I'm sure she was entirely 'galactic' & 'over the Moone'. Best regards to you & Rare Book Hub for holiday cheer. Keep in touch, love how you keep up the standards. Shall watch for that fabled Cavendish Star tomorrow night (Dec 15), shooting through the sky, all the way from Welbeck Abbey, Sherwood Forest. How enchanting. Thank you for this essay & the others. Thrilling!
June Harrison, Photographer / NYC.

Posted On: 2016-12-15 00:50
User Name: mosher

I thoroughly enjoyed your "Galactic Duchess" essay. The attending gallery of images is wonderful and your essay is so well organized. Congratulations on presenting this material to the world via Bruce McKinney's site which introduces Sara Mendelson's 21st century edition of Cavendish's THE BLAZING-WORLD. Literary contributions by women deserve more and frequent treatment, and especially noteworthy is that Margaret Cavendish's work is a first science fiction novel both written by and published by a woman writer. The work deserves this new debut for the modern age. -- Philip R. Bishop, member ABAA, ILAB, IOBA, and the Grolier Club.

Posted On: 2016-12-16 04:27
User Name: mairin111

15th December 2016.

Greetings, all ~
A note of thanks to the many colleagues, associates, friends, and RBH subscribers who posted a Comment on my recent Guest Series. It's been a heady three-month whirl, and a mighty good one, with strong affirmative response from many quarters. Bruce McKinney and Mike Stillman at RBH have been remarkable hosts & caring stewards of my work. And because the last installment in the Series, my Cavendish essay, was posted 12 days late, owing to delays with images & permissions, it lost exposure; but it will be re-announced to RBH subscribers on January 1st, for an extended viewing (and, of course, my three essays will continue to be accessible on the site). Among my Guest Series commentators, special thanks to: Alice Brown, PhD, Brooklyn, who faithfully posted on all three essays; and to the following respected specialists: Isobel Grundy, PhD, Alberta, CA; Ann Waldron, MD, Reno, NV; Felix de Villiers, Verona, Italy; Beverly E. Schneller, PhD, Nashville, TN; Hermann Real, PhD, Muenster, Germany; Mona Scheuermann, PhD, Chicago; Dan Heldridge, San Francisco; Ann M. Bogle, Minneapolis; Margaret Mulvihill, London; Mary Ann Mulvihill-Decker, NY; Alice Blueglass, Sarasota, FL; Lorna Clark, PhD, Ontario, CA; Mary Finn, NYC; June Harrison, NYC; a few others I've yet to meet; and most recently, Philip R. Bishop, Ephrata, PA, whose Mosher Press is an inspiration < http://www.thomasbirdmosher.net/ >. My affectionate thanks to each of you. And now, this evening of 15 December, let us look skyward for the special Margaret Cavendish Star.
Smiles & a wave,
Maureen E. Mulvihill, 2016 Guest Writer.

Posted On: 2016-12-18 12:39
User Name: davidbarry

Beautifully written, how very fortunate are we to have such a writer, scholar and one of the nicest people I am so lucky to call a friend.
We truly need more people in this world like Maureen.

David Barry, Bookbinding Conservator

Posted On: 2016-12-19 18:20
User Name: mairin111

P.S. to my thank-you note, above:

And hearty thanks, as well, to David Barry, Griffin Bookbinding LLC, St Petersburg, Florida,
for the generous Comment. Mr Barry has been the Conservator of my old timers
since 2011; and thanks to his good eye & judgment, my collection of rare & special
books has never looked better. And he's a courteous sort, too, which goes a long way
with me. A few years ago, David was a guest speaker at the invitation of the Florida Bibliophile Society; he gave a demonstration on book restoration, at his shop in St
Petersburg ~ 'twas an SRO event. David Barry is a bookman in ye olde Welsh character! And he made a stunning contribution to my "Pulter" and "Cavendish" essays. A valued associate, indeed.
Counting my blessings this holidays season,
Maureen E. Mulvihill / 19th December 2016.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Jenner (Rev. George Charles). <i>The Evidence at Large...Respecting Dr Jenner's Discovery of Vaccine Inoculation,</i> presentation copy from Edward Jenner to Rev. Rowland Hill, 1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Houdini (Harry).- Maggi (Girolamo). <i>De tintinnabulis liber postumus...de equuleo liber,</i> Harry Houdini's copy, Amsterdam, H. Wetstein, 1689. £600 to £800
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Meyer (Henry Leonard). Coloured Illustrations of British Birds, and their Eggs , 7 vol. in 2 plus Illustrations of British Birds, 4 vol., 1842-50 and [1835-51]. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>An Entirely New Romantic Drama, in Three Acts, by Mr. Wilkie Collins, called The Frozen Deep,</i> 1857. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Lighthouses and Islands of Ireland, c. 125 drawings, 1867. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Shelley (Lady Jane). Diary, 1853 & 1860. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Scottish Binding.- The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, bound in contemporary brown polished calf decorated with the figure of a Chinese spearman, by ?James Scott of Edinburgh, 1778. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>The Man Within,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1929. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Mellan (Claude, 1598-1688). The Holy Face, or the Veil of St Veronica, [c. 1649 and later]. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Desaguliers (John Theophilus). <i>A Dissertation concerning Electricity,</i> W. Innys, and T. Longman, 1742. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Le Jeune (Paul). <i>Relation de se qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'anné 1636 enuoyée au R.Pere Provincial de la Compagnie de Iesus en la Province de France,</i> 1637. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Stumpf (Johann Rudolph). <i>Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen und Völckern Chronicwirdiger thaaten beschreibung, </i> Zurich, Froschauer, 1586. £3,000 to £4,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> George Washington, Letter Signed to General James Clinton, preparing for the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, 1778. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising to send reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Thomas Edison, Autograph Letter Signed, to Western Union President William Orton, 1878. $10,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> William, Bishop of Coventry, vellum charter granting the church of Rochdale to the Cistercian Abbey of Stanlaw, in Latin, 1222. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> FDR, Photograph Signed & Inscribed, framed with wood removed from the White House roof, 1927. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Jean Dubuffet, archive including many letters written while painting in NYC, 1951-72. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Mohandas K. Gandhi, Autograph Letter Signed, describing the source of his patience, 1939. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Lithograph portrait of Albert Einstein by Hermann Struck, signed by both, 1923. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Charles The Bold, Duke of Burgundy, Letter Signed to Johann IV of Nassau, in French, 1470. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Jean Cocteau, Autograph Letter Signed, in French, 1919. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Louis Armstrong, two Autograph Letters Signed to Erich Kauffmann, his lip salve purveyor, 1965-70. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Wernher von Braun, Autograph Letter Signed to Jonathan Cross, 1975. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>

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