Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on July 30, 2014
Margaret Cavendish was an influential female author of the 17th century, whose literal works were a means of conveying not just her aspiration for fame and power, but her desire for the betterment of female standing in a male dominated society. In The Blazing World, we are presented with an interesting combination of themes, of which include science, discovery and exploration, imperialism and more. Cavendish creates a utopian society with interesting characteristics that reflect upon how she think the world should work, using elements of fantasy and realism to do so, which makes the reading both interesting and thought provoking.
It is easy however to become frustrated with the reading, and at times uninterested. It is written in Old English, and it goes without saying that not all things translate well to contemporary languages. This convolutes some of the ideas the author tries to get across, and makes the reading somewhat difficult. It is however worth pushing through, as the book is eloquently written, and has a way of charming the reader with its fantastic elements and intelligent metaphors. The author’s emphasis of the importance and power of imagination over the simplicity of tangible and material things is even inspiring. It relates well to real world issues and presents logical and intriguing ideas for how a society could potentially work. In addition, her use of science and objectivity help to keep the text from straying too far from reason, and strengthens the points made by the author, as they are essentially unbiased and logical. Given the time period and existing gender roles of women, subtlety was imperative. Cavendish does a wonderful job in conveying her aspirations for the betterment of women through the cover of a utopian society and imaginary figures. The metaphors are not however overly obscure, and are easily relatable to her real world expectations for society. While some of these metaphors can come across as somewhat extreme, one must take into consideration the social standing of women at the time, and the desire of fame and power that the author arguably possessed.
The fact that the piece is still around today is a testament to its timelessness as well. Cavendish use of dialogue amongst certain characters promotes the individual to question existing societal norms and values, something that can be appreciated by a society as a whole. Using literature as her means for expressing her desire for change, Cavendish is largely considered to be one of the earliest pioneers of feminism. Her love for science and reason, combined with her insightful ideas, maturity and elegant writing style really make for an interesting read to say the least. The challenge and frustration the reader is faced with given the style of writing is easily trumped by what the text represents as whole. The elements of fantasy will by no means blow your mind, but they certainly stimulate the imagination, and are balanced well with the contrast offered by science and reason. Overall, it was an interesting and thought provoking piece of literature, and one can certainly appreciate the literary courage of the author, and the importance of her place in history.
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