Question 1: What role do the animal-people play in Blazing World?
I got sick of studying Milton, so I started Blazing World and I read the entire thing in one weekend, which is a lot more than the recommended reading. I was fascinated by everything in it, partly because it’s such an early example of science fiction and partly because Cavendish was ridiculed for her writings, assuming those silly women can do any kind of thinking. Blazing World takes on the idea of women in positions of power, and I believe also criticizing monarch rule in general, since the Empress chooses to keep her people happy and free of war and during Cavendish’s time, she experienced violence during the English Civil War around this time. It got me thinking though, since animal people seemed like a strange stylistic choice. I tried researching this and ended up down a weird rabbit hole of hardcore vegan fringe blogs, but I understood it to be a commentary on how the monarchy treated the lower classes — like animals. But I’m not Cavendish, maybe she was a hardcore vegan?
Question 2: Why was Cavendish so pro-women-in-charge?
I mean, this is kind of a dumb question but I mostly just wanted to talk about her background. Cavendish grew up as the youngest of eight children, in a wealthy family, raised by a single mother. Her mother actually refused the help of men after her husband died, and I’m sure Cavendish saw her as a role model. She watched politics being dominated by men, and thought that maybe she had ideas that could change how things worked and had ideas about how to prevent wars, such as the English Civil War that ended with people killed and impoverished. The problem was that she was a woman, and they weren’t considered to be politically equal just yet. It bled over a lot into her writings, since she didn’t write about love and marriage like most women were expected to, but explored new ideas that weren’t just new for women, but scientifically new. She really pushed the limits for what was acceptable for women to talk about, she was ridiculed for it, and now hundreds of years later, we celebrate her work.