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Margaret Cavendish’s, 'Life of Newcastle' (1667), a Wifely Intervention in the Making of History

A public lecture by Diana Barnes (University of New England) at The University of Western Australia


Image: Gonzales Coques, Margaret Cavendish and her husband, William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, c. 17th Century, Wikimedia Commons

Date: Wednesday 16 October 2019
Time: 6:00–7:00pm
Venue: Fox Lecture Hall, Arts building, The University of Western Australia
Register: Free to register.

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By 1667 when Margaret Cavendish’s biography of her husband, Life of the Thrice Noble, High and Puissant Prince William Cavendish, Duke, Marquess, and Earl of Newcastle; Earl of Ogle; Viscount Mansfield; and Baron of Bolsover, of Ogle, Bothal and Hepple  was published, she was already an established print author with a staggering number of titles to her name. Those works ranged across a variety of genres and modes from poetry and prose fiction, to plays, oratory, letters and philosophy. Her reputation as a print author rested upon them, in particular the elaborate and defensive paratexts written mostly by herself and her husband (Newcastle) addressing the public debate about her authorship. A lot has been written about the desire for fame that drove Cavendish’s presentation of herself as a print author, royalist and wife. In this public lecture, Dr Barnes will discuss how Life of Newcastle makes a pointed intervention in the historical account of the English civil war being promoted in publications of the 1650s and 1660s.

Dr Diana G. Barnes is a Lecturer in Literary Studies at the University of New England, and is the Node Leader for the University of New England node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (CHE). She has a particular interest in the intersection between gender, emotion, history and literary genre. She has written on emotion and early modern letters, Puritan wifely ideals, and most recently passion and war in Margaret Cavendish’s Playes (1662).

This lecture is supported by the UWA Institute of Advanced Studies, the ARC Centre for the History of Emotions, the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at UWA, and the Perth Medieval and Renaissance Group.