Even though the book starts out saying “Reason is one thing and Fancy is another; Imagination is one thing and Philosophy is another,” she’s then showing throughout the book how these are very similar kinds of actions. Epicurus was making a world too. Was he living in it? Unclear. But by imagining that he lived there, he led a different kind of life.
We were overwhelmed by Margaret Cavendish’s wild novel The Blazing World, so we needed to bring in an expert. Who did we turn to? Liza Blake, assistant professor of English at the University of Toronto. She works on literature and science, literature and philosophy, and, most recently, the books of Margaret Cavendish. Perfect! We talk about how to get past those first impressions of Cavendish, what parts of The Blazing World are satire, the importance of speculation to science and philosophy, and whether animals can philosophize. (You might hear some animals philosophizing in the background…)
Her critical edition of Margaret Cavendish’s first book, Poems and Fancies.
Cavendish poems mentioned in this episode:
Virginia Woolf on Margaret Cavendish.
Lara Dodds wrote thoughtfully about Cavendish’s “bad writing”.
Prince Rupert’s drops are pretty neat.
John Wilkins: The Discovery of a World in the Moone.
Support The Spouter-Inn on Patreon to make our world a little more blazing.