Holm Publishes Article on Works by Margaret Cavendish

Posted on 9/19/2017 12:38:05 PM

Melanie Holm, English professor, has published an article titled, “Happy Creatoress’: Paratexts and Pleasure in Margaret Cavendish’s Blazing Worlds,” in the peer reviewed journal Restoration 41.1 (2017): 5-28.

Throughout her famously idiosyncratic works, Margaret Cavendish communicates both a high degree of self-satisfaction in her writing and an unprecedented disregard for her readers’ opinions. While her authorial self-fashioning is often dismissed as self-involved, aristocratic snobbery, Holm proposes an alternative reading that understands Cavendish’s claims of self-sufficiency and self-pleasure as endeavoring to craft a feminist practice of writing that redefines the boundaries of authority.

Holm’s construction of a skeptical Cavendish investigates a crucial distinction in Cavendish’s work between the pleasures of invention and the promise of pleasure through imitation. This affective distinction gives rise to analogies in her writing among texts, women writers, and colonial subjects, encouraging reflection on how we read texts and how we read one another.

With emphasis on textual sovereignty, Holm argues, Cavendish depicts two socialities of reading: imperial conquest and witty conversation. By using satiric indirection to destabilize authorized categories of interpretation, Cavendish, Holm suggests, not only re-imagines the affective agency of readers and authors, but also conceives of a sociability that privileges the pleasures of writing and the imaginative potential of individual creators and what Cavendish calls “creatoresses.”

Department of English