Liveliness and disorder






Margaret Cavendish, Natures Pictures Drawn by Fancies Pencil to the Life (London, 1656), pages 286-393 (pagination disrupted). (Bodleian Library fol. BS 159).






Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, was a royalist philosopher and poet who lived in Antwerp in political exile during the English Republic. Her books from this period contain many inserted leaves and gatherings which, as in this example, draw attention to their disruption of the regular sequence of quires. Cavendish suggests that the physical structure of these texts mimics the liveliness and disorder of their author’s mind. Her books also bear the physical marks of exile, many of the disruptions being caused by the time delay involved in sending copy from Antwerp to London.