“The Blazing World” 1-30 question

The first section of Cavendish’s The Blazing World is primarily a description of the Blazing-World and its inhabitants. The society the Lady finds herself welcomed into–and, shortly thereafter, made to rule over–is said to be utterly distinct from any European civilization. These details in particular led me to formulate a question regarding Cavendish’s possible social commentary:

“from which came, walking upon the Ice, strange Creatures, in shape like Bears, only they went upright as men; those Creatures coming near the Boat, catched hold of it with their Paws, that served them instead of hands; some two or three of them entred first; and when they came out, the rest went in one after another; at last having viewed and observed all that was in the Boat, they spake to each other in a language which the Lady did not understand; and having carried her out of the Boat, sunk it, together with the dead men.” (4)

“The City it self was built of Gold; and their Architectures were noble, stately, and magnificent, not like our Modern, but like those in the Romans time” (11)

There is a lot going on to distract from the parallels between these details and the characteristics of Native Americans, the most obvious being that “they were of several Complexions; not white, black, tawny, olive- or ash-coloured; but some appear’d of an Azure, some of a deep Purple, some of a Grass-green, some of a Scarlet, some of an Orange-colour, &c” (13); but when the fantastical elements are removed, you end up with something resembling the Aztec Empire. Is The Blazing World at all a criticism of the Spanish Conquest of the Americas?

Side note, the gist of the plot is almost identical to The Female American.

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