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Cavendish, Jane

RUTH CONNOLLY


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


Extract

The occasional poetry of Jane Cavendish (1621–69) presents a writer whose verse reiterates the importance of familial and communal ties, particularly her personal relationship with her father, William Cavendish, first duke of Newcastle. Her play The concealed fancyes , co-written with her sister, Elizabeth Brackley, offers a satiric retort to the hyperbole of courtship rituals. It examines the dynamics of power between women and men and refracts these concerns through a treatment of the Civil War that emphasizes its capacity to divide families and deprive them of male figureheads. Her work makes a significant contribution to the literary tradition of royalism, early modern women's writing, and the history of collaborative authorship. Almost all Cavendish's extant writing dates from the 1640s, although she composed both literary and religious work throughout her life. Her family highly valued its members’ writings. Both her father and stepmother, Margaret Lucas Cavendish, wrote and printed a range of works and Newcastle explicitly encouraged literary ambition in all his children. The search for her father's approbation underpins all of Cavendish's writing; his absences, caused by military campaigning and later exile following the Royalist defeat prompt several poems that pay homage to him ( Ezell 1988 ; Clarke 1999 ) and her deference to his critical verdict is made clear in the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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