Volume 4, number 2
Fall 1999

Introduction by Emma Rees, President of the Society:

MCS: Into 2000!

But they that study much and seldome speak
For want of use of words are for to seeke;
Their tongue is like a rusty key grown rough,
Hard to unlock, so do the words come forth:
Or like an Instrument that lies unstrung,
Till it can be tun'd cannot be plaid upon. (Natures Pictures, p.37)

Writing my first newsletter as president of the MCS has been a daunting task, not least because Nancy, with her efficiency and enthusiasm, is a hard act to follow. The highlight of 1999 for the Society was surely the conference in Paris, brilliantly coordinated by Line Cottegnies, and an invaluable opportunity for us to keep Cavendish "alive" in our discussions. I am of the firm belief that the MCS is one of the friendliest, warmest and yet learned, academic societies anywhere in the world.

The MCS is the sum of us all; we are now some 150 members strong. This newsletter contains the revised membership form do complete and return it to Hilda Smith as soon as possible. Together we can continue to make Cavendish studies flourish. Do not hesitate to contact me with any ideas of suggestions you might have. At any rate, let's hope that the spirit of the Society will continue to be such that we need have no fear of the following scenario in Massachusetts in 2001! ...

They fell into dispute two Divines about Controversies; but they grew so hot with zeal, that their discourse flamed up high, and their fiery words flew above all respect or civility, calling one another Heretick, and Beelzebub, and the Whore of Babylon, and the like terms, that the rest of the Scholars had much ado to appease them. (The Schools Quarrels, or Scholars Battles, second book of Natures Pictures, p. 106).

Do keep the rusty keys oiled, and have a splendid, peaceful holiday period. Wishing you a happy and successful start to the new millennium.


President, International Margaret Cavendish Society,
English Department, Chester College,
Parkgate Road,
Chester, CH1 4BJ, UK
Email: [email protected]

Plan early to attend the next international Cavendish Conference:

June 30 and July 1, 2001 at Wheaton College (near Boston) in Massachusetts, USA

The Conference will be co-hosted by Wheaton College and the Women Writers Project and English Department of Brown University in nearby Providence, Rhode Island. If you are interested in helping to plan the conference, please contact Cavendish Society president, Emma Rees, or Wheaton College contact Susanne Woods ([email protected]).

Teaching Archive, maintained by Brandie Siegfried:

Last summer, several members suggested that they had juicy items to send me for inclusion in the teaching archive -- I await their contributions! As soon as I have a good batch of things, I'll make them all available on a website. I am especially eager to see teaching material that links Cavendish to other significant figures.

Second, while rummaging through my office I came upon several MarCav posters made for displaying at conferences. They are 12" x 24" with logo and illustration -- if anyone would like copies for displaying at upcoming events, they can send their name and a mailing address, and I will forward a copy.

E-mail: [email protected]

News and other information

Dissertations and publications:

Audrey Lynn Becker completed her dissertation in February 1999 (and received her PhD from the University of Michigan). The title of the dissertation is 'So troubled with the mother': Death and the Performance of Maternity in Early Modern Drama. The final chapter is "'The womb of trouble': Marriage and the corpus of Margaret Cavendish."

Update on Annotated Cavendish Scholarship Bibliography: Erna Kelly and Kim Newport are continuing to work on the project and have a press interested. Although originally we had not planned to include work in languages other than English, in response to some of the email we received, we recently decided to include these items if authors are willing to send us accompanying annotations. Some of you who have forthcoming articles also asked about scope. At the moment our planned scope is 1900-1999 (but that could change, depending upon the publisher). Our thanks to all who sent support and items via email. Email address: [email protected].

Maria H. Makowiecka completed her comparatist PhD dissertation in 1996, which was entitled Women's Departures -- Rewriting Voyage / Rethinking Female Travel Recits. One chapter deals with Margaret Cavendish's Blazing World.

Elaine Hobby's edition of Jane Sharp, The Midwives Book (1671) was published by CUP in New York in October. It is available in both paperback and hardback versions.

Hilda Smith, Treasurer of the Society, will be giving a paper entitled "Against the Grain: Political Ideas of Margaret Cavendish and Josephine Butler" at the Annual meeting of the Swiss Congress of Women Historians in Fribourg, Switzerland from February 18-19, 2000.

Remember to visit the new society web site at html.
The site is now maintained by Nancy S. Weitz ([email protected]) and contains lots of useful information and links.

Susannah Quinsee, Editor

MCS Newsletter funded by the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies of the Ohio State University. UK Distribution of this newsletter has been supported by the University College of Ripon and York St. John.