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Mad Madge

3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  39 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Margaret Cavendish's life as a writer and noblewoman unfolded against the backdrop of the English Civil War and Restoration. Pursuing the only career open to women of her class, she became a lady-in-waiting to the Queen Henrietta Maria. Exiled to Paris with the Queen, she met and married William Cavendish, Marquis of Newcastle. In exile, Margaret did something unthinkable ...more
Paperback, 456 pages
Published August 21st 2003 by Basic Books (first published August 21st 2002)
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Gail Richmond
Aug 03, 2015 Gail Richmond rated it liked it
Margaret Lucas Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle, lived a life of wealth and indulgence during the 17th century. Born in 1623, her wealthy family followed Charles I in his war against Oliver Cromwell and his troops. While war raged across England, Margaret, as a maid of honor, accompanied Queen Henrietta Maria to Paris where she met William Cavendish, one of the richest and notable of the King's supporters. Married in France, the couple were in exile for fifteen years before the restoration of ...more
Sep 18, 2010 Catherine rated it liked it
Shelves: read-nonfiction
Gets to a 3.5 for me. There's a lot of good information here about both Margaret and the English Civil War/Restoration period, which I found worthwhile. Margaret herself has been fairly recently 'reclaimed' as an early sf/f writer for her novel "Blazing World," but she was better know during her own time for her scientific and philosophical writing.
Whitaker does an admirable job and researching her life and I can honestly say I learned a great deal.
She does wax overenthusiastic about her subje
This is a thorough and entertaining biography of a remarkable woman, who published in just about every genre possible at a time when women weren't expected to ever publish; if they wrote, it was to be circulated only among friends and family.

My only problem? I didn't like Mad Madge very well. Like Fanny Burney, I think she's admired best from a distance (there's nothing like reading Burney's diary and letters to realize what a stick in the mud she was).

The Duchess of Newcastle, despite her int
Kate Millin
Jun 06, 2014 Kate Millin rated it it was amazing
I found this an interesting if slow read as, although she is Duchess of Newcastle, she was part of the Cavendish family of Welbeck, the estate where I lived when Steven was born, plus she was a writer ahead of her time.
Mar 09, 2014 Carolyn rated it really liked it
What a fascinating lady. So bold and brave to write in such a male dominated world. She is one I never heard about until a friend gave me this book. Admiration abounds from me for her and I believe this bio more than likely did her justice.
Lynne Tull
Nov 12, 2011 Lynne Tull rated it really liked it
Well, I finally finished "Mad Madge". I bet you thought I never would. I really enjoyed this book. It took me a long time to finish it, but I savored every moment. Some reviewers thought it slow, but that is what I liked about it. It was not a "page turner", but held my interest. If you like history, you might like this peek at the mid-1600's through Margaret's eyes. I thought Ms. Whitaker's research excellent. Not only was Margaret not "mad", but was an imminent figure of her time as noted thro ...more
3.5 Stars.

I knew nothing about Margaret, and she was definitely an interesting person. I did feel that this book was a bit too dry at times - I could have done without a lot of the very detailed discussion of their financial troubles. Even though I didn't love the book, I liked it enough that I'd recommend it to other fans of this era of history.
Mills College Library
Biog N536w 2003
Rick Vetrone
Nov 14, 2015 Rick Vetrone marked it as to-read
Shelves: to-read-in-2016
I read to about pp 100 -- and was interested in the historical details of the "Civil War" period, but wasn't entranced enough by the prose of the biographer, alas!

I may return to it if i end up having a full-on Margaret Cavendish obsession ....
Faye Faye
Aug 22, 2010 Faye Faye rated it liked it
An interesting woman but not the most enthralling of biographies. Good to read if you know nothing about Margaret Cavendish but I found this to be a bit hard going and unfortunately a challenge to finish.
Feb 10, 2010 Chin added it
Just begun reading this amazing story about a woman who lived 500 years ago. My thoughts ... who will make a difference 500 years from NOW?
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Katie Whitaker did a Ph. D in the History of Science at Cambridge, where she was awarded the Thirlwall Prize and Medal for the best original research by a young scholar under 30. She has also been a Century Fellow at the University of Chicago where she was awarded an MPhil. She lives in Yorkshire, England, with her husband and two children.
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