Author(s): Danielle Dutton
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.
Danielle Dutton is the author of a collection of prose pieces, Attempts at a Life, and a novel, SPRAWL, which was a finalist for the Believer Book Award. She also wrote the text for Here Comes Kitty- a comic opera, an artist book of collages by Richard Kraft. Her fiction has appeared in Harper's, BOMB, Fence, Noon, and other periodicals. Dutton, who grew up in Central California, holds a PhD from the University of Denver and a MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the founder of the publishing house Dorothy, and teaches at Washington University in St Louis, where she lives with her husband and son.