Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

W Scott Howard, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jan Gorak

Third Advisor

Ingrid Tague


Cavendish, Consciousness, Descartes, Hobbes, Newcastle, Panpsychism


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.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Cynthia Lynne Rogan de Ramirez


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

93 p.


Literature, Philosophy