Thalia's Daughters

A weblog for English 6365: Women Onstage in the Long Eighteenth Century, at UNB.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Lorenzo Reading Series

is already underway. Wonderful writers. Anyone in the area, come on down.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


A few of you have mentioned that you would like to have categories on your blogs. Blogger has brought out a beta programme, not available yet to everyone, that has this capability. Some of you may have links on your dashboards which would let you switch over; if not, you can still get there.

Monday, September 25, 2006

A World made by Atomes

With ref. to Gallagher's article (32): Cavendish's Atomic poems

A World made by Atomes

Margaret Cavendish (1653)

Small Atomes of themselves a World may make,
As being subtle, and of every shape:
And as they dance about, fit places finde,
Such Formes as best agree, make every kinde.
For when we build a house of Bricke, and Stone, [5]
We lay them even, every one by one:
And when we finde a gap that's big, or small,
We seeke out Stones, to fit that place withall.
For when not fit, too big, or little be,
They fall away, and cannot stay we see. [10]
So Atomes, as they dance, finde places fit,
They there remaine, lye close, and fast will sticke.
Those that unfit, the rest that rove about,
Do never leave, untill they thrust them out.
Thus by their severall Motions, and their Formes, [15]
As severall work-men serve each others turnes.
And thus, by chance, may a New World create:
Or else predestined to worke my Fate.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Margaret Cavendish: some links

Margaret Cavendish

"[The] Reason why I write in Verse, is, because I thought Errours might better passe there, then in Prose, since Poets write most Fiction, and fiction is not given for Truth, but Pastime." Margaret Cavendish, Poems and Fancies (1653)

Significant sites:
Margaret (Lucas) Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle (1623-1673): a page on Anniina Jokinen's wonderful Luminarium (caveat: music plays when one opens the main page). She posts quotes, life, works (etexts to many of her works, mainly poems), essays, books (up to 2004), and more.
The Margaret Cavendish Society: includes some links and a bibliography
Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcaste: contains biography, bibliography, and links to etexts

Other sites:
Margaret Cavendish Study Group: a listserv
The Margaret Cavendish page at Sunshine for Women, an good online resource for early women's writing.
Margaret Cavendish at the Women Writers Archive
Cavendish Family Papers, held at the University of Nottingham
Wikipedia entry: an active entry, recently edited

Student sites:
The page of one of my former undergraduates
The page of another of my former undergraduates
Margaret Lucas Cavendish (1623-74): from an undergrad philosophy class

Etexts: (for many more links check the above sites)
A True Relation of My Life and Breeding from the Hypatia Institute, a site dedicated to women scientists
from The Blazing World, her fantastic voyage/utopian narrative
The Atomic Poems (Women Writers Resource Project)
"A World in an Eare-Ring": nice example of Cavendish's melding of science and art
Other scientific poems

Selected Critical Works: (many more online articles available from licensed databases)
Essays from the Fifth Biennial International Margaret Cavendish Conference, Early Modern Literary Studies Special Issue 14 (May, 2004): full texts online
Women's Writing 4.3 (1997): Special Issue on Margaret Cavendish. Only TOC and abstracts available to non-subscribers.
In-between: Essays & Studies in Literary Criticism 9.1&2 (2000): special issue on Margaret Cavendish (TOC only)
Bertuol, Roberto. "The Square Circle of Margaret Cavendish: the 17th-century conceptualization of mind by means of mathematics." Language and Literature 10.1 (2001):21-39.
Kramer, Annette. "'Thus by the musick of a ladyes tongue': Margaret Cavendish's dramatic innovations in women's education." (PDF) Women's History Review 2.1 (March 1993):57-79.
Smith, Emily. "Genre’s 'Phantastical Garb': The Fashion of Form in Margaret Cavendish’s Natures Pictures Drawn by Fancies Pencil to the Life." Early Modern Literary Studies 11.3 (January, 2006):1-40.
Suzuki, Mihoko. "Margaret Cavendish and the female satirist." Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 37.3 (Summer 1997):483(18).
Wagner, Geraldine. "Romancing Multiplicity: Female Subjectivity and the Body Divisible in Margaret Cavendish's Blazing World." Early Modern Literary Studies 9.1 (May, 2003):1-59

Frontispiece, Blazing World
Front page, Sociable Letters
Engraving of Margaret Cavendish by Peter van Schuppen. From the frontispiece to Philosophical and Physical Opinions (1655).

And, finally:
"[Margaret Cavendish had] an imagination that makes Salvador Dali seem like an accountant." In Search of the World's Worst Writers

What is Liquid?
Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle

All that doth flow we cannot liquid name
Or else would fire and water be the same;
But that is liquid which is moist and wet
Fire that property can never get.
Then 'tis not cold that doth the fire put out
But 'tis the wet that makes it die, no doubt.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Class meetings

As it turns out, there is now a bus going from F'ton to SJ for a grad. course on Tuesdays, leaving at 8:30 and returning at 4. Our course has started and you all signed on on the understanding that it would be Mondays, in F'ton. But, I have been asked to ask you: any chance that you would be interested in migrating? In order to do so, everyone would have to be completely in agreement. Don't feel you have to reply publicly; you are welcome to email me.

I fully expect this will go nowhere, and justly so. But will throw it out anyway.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

In search of

four blogs.

Any problems, drop me a line.

Monday, September 11, 2006

First class

Wonderful to meet you all. I think we will have a good term together. The blog addresses are flowing in — sort of — and I look forward to receiving more.

See you online, and again next week.


to the course blog for English 6465: Women Onstage in the Long Eighteenth Century. Here you will find links, updates, and information about the course texts, schedule, and assignments. More importantly, blogging will serve as a venue for continuing the conversations we will have in class.

Thalia, by the way, was one of the nine Muses; she was the Muse of Comedy. This painting is by Jean-Marc Nattier (1685-1766).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

WebCT; PDF files

I have enabled WebCT for this course so I will have a place to store PDF files for you to download.

Where these files are available, they are indicated in the schedule.

Signing up for presentations; setting up your blog

You may notice that one of your colleagues has already put in a bid for a particular presentation topic. If anyone else would like to do the same, either leave a comment here or email me (jones at unbsj dot ca). Otherwise, I hope that we can sign everyone up during the first class.

You might also notice that there is already one course blog listed in the blogroll, to the left. Feel free to go ahead and set up yours. If you have an existing blog of some sort you may of course use it, and if you have preferred blogger software and/or a server, feel free to use them. Otherwise (and this will be most if not all of you, I imagine), the easiest thing to do will be to set up a blog at There is free hosting at, the default setting for Blogger. Go to the site and follow the instructions (be sure to record your password, user name and title exactly, and give some thought to each beforehand). The main difficulty you are likely to face in this very straightforward process is that the name you have chosen for your blog, for your user name or for your URL (internet address) may have already been taken by some other enterprising blogger.

You may chose to blog under your own name or under a pseudonym, particularly if you have any concerns about online security. Either choice is fine as long as the other members of the group know who is who.

We will discuss this more in class. I anticipate that some of you will be anxious or sceptical about weblogging, and I look forward to trying to convince you otherwise.

For blogging tips go here.