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The Convent of Pleasure

The Convent of Pleasure" and Other Plays

Paperback Published: 18th June 1999
ISBN: 9780801861000
Number Of Pages: 296
For Ages: 22+ years old

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Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle (1623-1673), until recently remembered more as a flamboyant eccentric than as a serious writer, was in fact the most prolific, thought-provoking, and original woman writer of the Restoration. Cavendish is the author of many poems, short stories, biographies, memoirs, letters, philosophical and scientific works (including The Description of a New World, Called The Blazing World, the first work of science fiction by a woman), and nineteen plays.

"The Convent of Pleasure" and Other Plays collects four of Cavendish's dramatic works that are among the most revealing of her attitudes toward marriage and her desire for fame. Loves Adventures (1662) centers on a woman succeeding in war and diplomacy by passing as a man. Similarly, the heroine of Bell in Campo (1662) rescues her husband at the head of an army of women in this tale of a marriage of near equals. The Convent of Pleasure (1668) proposes a separatist community of women and has received attention for its suggestion of lesbian sexuality. The Bridals (1662), a more typical restoration comedy satirizing marriage, rounds out the collection.

Edited with notes and annotation by Anne Shaver, "The Convent of Pleasure" and Other Plays also contains a timeline, biography and bibliography of the Duchess, an appreciation of Cavendish's life and work, and a bibliography of critical essays. Also included are all of Cavendish's epistles To the Reader as well as Other Preliminary Matter from Playes (1662), and Cavendish's original preface to Plays Never Before Printed (1668). A valuable collection from an extraordinary writer, "The Convent of Pleasure" and Other Plays raises important issues about women and gender.

Industry Reviews

Her introductory material places its initial emphasis upon biographical narrative _ an invaluable context in which to understand Cavendish's work, and most especially her dramatic writing, which is obsessed by the cultural anxieties surrounding the female intellectual of high birth who seeks a more public identity. -- Andrew Hiscock * Review of English Studies *

Note on Editorial Method
Introduction: Margaret Cavendish's Life as a Writerp. 1
Loves Adventures. Playp. 21
The Second Part of Loves Adventuresp. 65
The First Part of Bell in Campop. 107
The Second Part of Bell in Campop. 141
The Bridals. A Comedyp. 171
The Convent of Pleasure. A Comedyp. 217
Appendixesp. 249
Dedicatory Poems and Author's Epistles Preceding the Texts in Playes, 1662p. 253
An Introduction, 1662p. 268
Epistle Appended to Playes, 1662p. 271
Author's Epistle Preceding Plays Never Before Printed, 1668p. 273
Erratap. 274
Selected Bibliographyp. 277
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780801861000
ISBN-10: 0801861004
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 22+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 296
Published: 18th June 1999
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.27  x 1.75
Weight (kg): 0.4