Imperial dreams? Margaret Cavendish and the cult of Elizabeth

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Margaret Cavendish appropriated images of Elizabeth I in order to how her support for an imperialist England and to question the status Restoration society awarded to women. During the seventeenth century hagiographic representations of Elizabeth I were increasingly used to criticise the policies and personalities of the Stuart monarchs. William Cavendish, for example, harked back to England's glorious past under Elizabeth in order to inculcate in Charles II's government expansionist and imperialist policies. Margaret Cavendish in The Blazing World demonstrates similar concerns but Cavendish's work is also interested in using representations of Elizabeth I as a way of exploring both the disenfranchisement of women and, I argue, the possibility of female empowerment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-399
Number of pages17
JournalWomen's Writing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997

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