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Short Synopsis
Margaret the First dramatizes the life of Margaret Cavendish, the shy, gifted, and wildly unconventional seventeenth-century duchess. Written with lucid precision and sharp cuts through narrative time, it is a gorgeous and wholly new approach to imagining the life of a historical woman.

Full Synopsis
Margaret the First dramatizes the life of Margaret Cavendish, the shy, gifted, and wildly unconventional seventeenth-century duchess. The eccentric Margaret wrote and published volumes of poems, philosophy, feminist plays, and utopian science fiction at a time when "being a writer" was not an option open to women. As one of the Queen's attendants and the daughter of prominent Royalists, she was exiled to France when King Charles I was overthrown. As the English Civil War raged on, Margaret met and married William Cavendish, who encouraged her writing and her desire for a career. After the War, her work earned her both fame and infamy in England; at the dawn of daily newspapers, she was "Mad Madge," an original tabloid celebrity. Yet Margaret was also the first woman to be invited to the Royal Society of London—a mainstay of the Scientific Revolution—and the last for another two hundred years.

Margaret the First is very much a contemporary novel set in the past. Written with lucid precision and sharp cuts through narrative time, it is a gorgeous and wholly new approach to imagining the life of a historical woman.

"Although Margaret the First is set in 17th century London, it's not a traditional work of historical fiction. It is an experimental novel that, like the works of Jeanette Winterson, draws on language and style to tell the story . . . There is a restless ambition to [Danielle Dutton's] intellect." ---Los Angeles Times

"Dutton’s boldness, striking prose, and skill at developing an idiosyncratic narrative should introduce her to the wider audience she deserves." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"The duchess herself would be delighted at her resurrection in Margaret the First." ---New York Times

"Despite its period setting and details, this novel . . . feels rooted in the experiences of contemporary women with artistic and intellectual ambitions. Margaret’s alternating bursts of inspiration and despair about her work may feel achingly familiar to Dutton’s likely readers, many of whom will probably also be aspiring writers." ---Kirkus
Publishers Weekly Review

Margaret the First

A Novel

Author Danielle Dutton

Narrated by Lucy Rayner

Publication date Jun 30, 2016

Running time 5 hrs

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