Optics and Authorship in Margaret Cavendish’s Observations and The Blazing World

Walters, Lisa (2014) Optics and Authorship in Margaret Cavendish’s Observations and The Blazing World. Viator: Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 45 (3). pp. 377-393. ISSN 0083-5897

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This article investigates how Margaret Cavendish’s Observations Upon Experimental Philosophy and its appendix, The Blazing World, together articulate her theories of optics and vision as they relate to sensory perception. Observations outlines Cavendish’s theory of perception, a theory which serves as a critical stepping stone for understanding her theories of “conception,” authorship, and subjectivity that are put forward in The Blazing World. In both texts, Cavendish examines subjectivity in context of influential ancient and early modern optical theories, and challenges the emerging belief in objective facts advanced by the Royal Society. Cavendish’s understanding of optics thus constitutes a crucial part of her later vitalist epistemology, one which resembles contemporary postmodern preoccupations with the deconstruction of unified notions of truth, self and ideology.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: "Margaret Cavendish history of science women and literature philosophy optics Observations upon Experimental Philosophy The Blazing World"
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > English
Depositing User: Ann Houghton
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2016 14:46
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2017 15:54
URI: https://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/622

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