1000 Books In 10 Years; Vol. 201: The Blazing World, by Margaret Cavendish


The Blazing World, by Margaret Cavendish (who, as I’m sure she would want me to mention, was also the Duchess of  Newcastle), is unreadable garbage.  Cavendish not only has no clue who to build a narrative, but also proves that she is incapable of building a character.  Her work, The Blazing World, follows a beautiful young noble woman who is kidnapped and taken north by her captures, all of who freeze to death (though she, being beautiful and radiant survives because of her innate warmth?!?!!?) and she enters a different world where animals are humanoid (?) and can speak, and she is made empress of this ‘blazing world’ (though we don’t know what form the emperor is, though they are married).  And in this blazing world all the animals get along (but there has to be at least one animal that nobody gives a shit about because all their boats are made out of leather… whose hide I wonder, makes up the these boats? or does Cavendish not know where leather comes from… I think perhaps it is the latter).  There is some discussion with various animals on various subjects which do nothing but illustrate the intellectual short comings of the era and the author.  Then there is some soul-flying going on and the ’duchess’ introduces herself as a character in her own book… yada yada yada, the empress goes back to her home world where she uses the beings and tools of the blazing world to put her entire planet under the servitude of her home nation.  Don’t worry about the conflicting ideas of peace that are presented in the first half of the work and the warring that the peace-loving empress engages in to makes things as she prefers them to be.  Essentially, Cavendish wants to create a totalitarian world with one leader, one religion and one government, and wants to close up any schools of thought that might diverge from another so that we can all live in peaceful and perpetual ignorance and agreement.  Anywho….next up, James Thomson’s “Seasons”.  Let us hope that this is better.

Edit: James Thomson’s “Seasons” will not be next after all.  The copy I have is in a language I do not know?!?!?!?  *Shakes fist at Chapters*

Rambler About Rambler

Jason John Horn is a writer and critic who recently completed his Master's in English Literature at the University of Windsor. He has composed a play, a novella and a number of short stories and satirical essays.


  1. I’m afraid you have misunderstood the genre(s) of this work. It is not a “novel” in our sense of the word. It is a narrative (yes, there is a story) combined with philosophical, scientific, and religious treatise. It is a work of utopian fiction at the same time that it is a musing on experimental philosophy. It seems only fair to judge the work in this context. Of course, you may still not like it. I also find parts of it very tedious, but it is what it is, not what we would like it to be.

  2. Thanks so much for your thoughtful and engaging comment. It is perhaps fair to classify it as a ‘novel’, but it does have much in common with a novel. It is perhaps better to compare it with Thomas Moore’s Utopia.

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