Chapter

Covert Politics and Separatist Women's Friendship: Margaret Cavendish and Mary Astell

Penelope Anderson

in Friendship's Shadows

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780748655823
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780748676620 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748655823.003.0007
Covert Politics and Separatist Women's Friendship: Margaret Cavendish and Mary Astell

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This chapter focuses on two female writers, Margaret Cavendish and Mary Astell, who articulate the political separatism that becomes the lasting story of female friendship. From the eighteenth century forward, friendship offers, at best, a site of escape from the world: female friends prepare for marriages, or run away from familial tyranny, or offer an isolated example of private virtue. They do not reform governments. What we now think about when we think about friendship has everything to do with what particular women writers use it to do in a particular historical moment, and with how rapidly their forthright acknowledgment of political betrayal becomes unthinkable.

Keywords: female writers; political separation; female friendship; friends

Chapter.  16209 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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