Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

English

First Advisor

W Scott Howard

Keywords

Cavendish, Consciousness, Descartes, Hobbes, Newcastle, Panpsychism

Abstract

Writing at a time when women had few property rights, were given scarce educational opportunities, and were viewed as incorrigibly irrational, the largely autodidactic English intellectual Margaret Cavendish is fascinated by knowledge and how to secure for herself a place in the micro- as well as macrocosmic community of letters. In particular, Cavendish holds an abiding interest in what we now call "consciousness" which she attributes to every piece of matter. Throughout the universe, the three aspects of matter--inanimate, sensate, and rational--are omnipresent. While throughout all of Cavendish's eclectic literary creation, consciousness is the unifying principle. Her exploration of consciousness manifests itself across genres--in scenes from her fiction, in the themes of her poetry, in her philosophical principles, and in her explanations of the natural world. I maintain that although this is not commonly recognized, Cavendish's principle of pervasive consciousness is a premise throughout her writings.

Provenance

Recieved from ProQuest

Rights holder

Cynthia Lynne Rogan de Ramirez

File size

93 p.

File format

application/pdf

Language

en

Discipline

Literature, Philosophy

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