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NEWCASTLE, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of (1624?--1674)
Philosophicall fancies. Written by the Right Honourable, the Lady Newcastle.
London: printed by Tho: Roycroft, for J. Martin, and J. Allestrye, 1653.
[24], 94, [2] p. ; 14.0 cm. (8º)

Margaret Cavendish née Lucas was maid of honor to King Charles I's wife Henrietta Maria, whom she accompanied in exile to Paris where she married William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle. While in exile she was exposed to the ideas of the natural philosophers Hobbes, Descartes, and Gassendi, beginning to write on these topics as well as poems, plays, letters, and a biography of her husband. After the Restoration she became of the first women to attend a meeting of the Royal Society and was known for her eccentric dress, being described by Pepys as "mad, conceited and ridiculous"; her Sociable Letters (1664) contain the first published criticism of Shakespeare. A manuscript in the Soane Museum titled 'The Second Epistle. An answer and instruction upon Six question figurely contained in the Scripture', in an early C19th binding with the ownership stamp of Richard Cosway, is also attributed to her on the basis of an inscription in an unidentified hand. Title-page with printer's decoration. The present work, partly in verse, repudiates her earlier classically influenced atomism. (See ODNB). Annotation on Thomason copy: 'May. 21.' Leaves B2 and B7 are both signed 'I2', and B4 is signed 'I4'; the final leaf is blank. ESTC r202988; Wing: N865; Thomason: E.1474[1].

Copy Notes Lacking the final blank leaf recorded in ESTC (sig. H8). Bookseller's pencil inscription inside upper cover Very scarce; some ink inscriptions inside both covers, those on the front pastedown obscured by Soane's bookplate.

Binding C17th sheep, blind double-ruled borders and spine, without label or lettering.

Reference Number 1112


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