Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Dr. Erin Webster

Committee Members

Dr. Erin Minear

Dr. Francesca Sawaya

Dr. Dawn Edmiston


Lisa Walters claims that in Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World, “Cavendish suggests that what is considered valuable, whether it is gold or a monarch, is not inherently valuable in itself. Value is placed externally by the interpretative powers of the community at large” (185). In The Blazing World and Urania, Margaret Cavendish and Mary Wroth, respectively, use these “interpretative powers” to rewrite the societal appraisals of their texts. They create literary worlds in which their stories can subvert the gendered barriers of early modern England’s economic and literary circulation—and ultimately, assert themselves as valuable. In this thesis, I examine Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist, Mary Wroth’s Urania, and Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World to trace the implications that literary circulation and sovereignty had for female characters and writers throughout the seventeenth century. I argue that the ways in which Jonson, Wroth, and Cavendish’s female characters circulate and gain power in their texts can explain how their authors did the same outside of fiction.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

On-Campus Access Only