An Inverted Dystopia

Margaret Cavendish's Utopia, The Blazing World

  • Julie Santini


This new interpretation of Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World (1666) shows that women
engaged with witchcraft theory in early modern Europe. Remnants of the early modern witch-craze
exist in theoretical texts by the men who were at the heart of defning and defending the ‘truths’
about witchcraft. Notably, as cases of witchcraft were predominantly against women, women’s
voices remain unheard. Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, was a rare example of a
woman attempting to insert herself into intellectual circles like the Royal Society. Having frequented
the circles of men that believed they were scientifcally proving witchcraft, it is unlikely that
Cavendish did not have her own opinions on the subject. By showing how Cavendish’s dystopian
science-fction novel echoes men’s theories about witchcraft, the parody she makes of their theories
is brought to light and earns her a place in the wider scholarship on the subject.

How to Cite
Santini, J. (2019). An Inverted Dystopia. Digital Literature Review, 6, 89-104. Retrieved from