Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 April 2022
Margaret Cavendish has recently become the subject of intense academic interest among scholars from a wide range of disciplines. In addition, she is increasingly becoming visible in popular culture. In the Introduction of this collection, Brandie R. Siegfried and Lisa Walters explore Cavendish’s influence upon Western philosophy, science, literature and women’s rights. The Introduction also provides contextual information about Cavendish’s life and works and her importance in early modern literary culture as well as the scientific revolution. Indeed, Cavendish is an important figure for understanding the seventeenth century’s collective efforts at advancing knowledge, particularly in philosophy. However, no other natural philosopher of the early modern era developed the sheer breadth of literary versatility and inventiveness peculiar to Cavendish, who explored her philosophy and science in poetry, romance, orations, fictional letters, science fiction, and drama. Hence, this chapter emphasizes the importance of understanding of Cavendish’s diverse and wide-ranging body of thought by situating her ideas within a multidisciplinary conversation among scholars.