Importunate Persuasions: Anxiety of Authorship and the Female Fight for Self-Sovereignty

2393 Words May 3rd, 2013 10 Pages
In Margaret Cavendish’s essay The Blazing World she creates a world of her own where she rules as a sovereign and is afforded a power that would not otherwise be possible for her: “…if any should like the world I have made and be willing to be my subjects, they may imagine themselves such, and they are such, I mean in their minds…; but if they cannot endure to be subjects, they may create worlds of their own and govern themselves as they please” (1785). In this passage, Margaret Cavendish exposes her own idiosyncratic philosophy concerning her position in society as a woman, female author and a member of a court that was ostracized. By prolifically writing about herself, she attempts to exercise her right to a voice and uses it as an …show more content…
By positing herself within a socially accepted arena for women, she at once becomes less offensive to her female readership. However, she shows her “anxiety of authorship” that Sarah Gilbert and Susan Gubar define as a female author’s anxiety of being judged by male readers, critics, etc. thus they will compromise their own voice in an attempt to placate the male gaze2 and save themselves from alienation: “Her battle, however, is not against her (male) precursor’s reading of the world but against his reading of her. In order to define herself as an author she must redefine the terms of her socialization”, (Gilbert and Gubar, 2027). Gilbert and Gubar’s solution for this is a female author must replace the male precursor or influence with a female, at once helping to her to identify with her own sex and giving her an alliance in which to fight patriarchal control. However, if women themselves perpetuate male hegemony, this can prove difficult.
In The Blazing World, Margaret creates a new world in order to experience and exercise the ambition and power that she desired. This new world becomes a metaphor for the real world with which she parallels it. In this new world, it is finally safe for her to tackle male hegemony head on and she attempts to do this with analogies of what men become. In her customized world,

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