Mad Madge: Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, Royalist, Writer and Romantic by Katie Whitaker - review by Carole Angier

Carole Angier

Pomp Prodigy

Mad Madge: Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, Royalist, Writer and Romantic

By

Chatto & Windus 436pp £20 order from our bookshop
 

IT IS TO the credit of this serious and scholarly book that it fails to live down to its title. 'Mad Madge' was coined by nineteenth-century critics, Katie Whitaker tells us, and was unjust. It is a shame, then, that she uses it herself, and I can only think her publishers persuaded her.

Then, in her prologue, she tells us something else she will not live down to (or perhaps 'up to' this time). She sets out four questions about Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle. How had she come to break with social convention and write all her books? What sort of person had

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter