Gallagher 1988

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most of the earliest female writers in England are conservative/Tory -- problem for the history of feminism

e.g. Cavendish was royalist; how to reconcile her conservative values with her proto-feminist authorship?

Cavendish's commitment to absolute monarchy is parallel with her status as a woman seeking preeminence through writing

"The book that centers on the single self, like the state that centers on a single ruler, comprises a self-contained worl that 'turns on its own axis' and makes its own circle. Inside the history of the particular individual is epistemological security (it keeps within the circumference of truth), just as within the absolute monarchy is political security. What is imagined here is a plurality of worlds, each based on that model of singularity, the monarchy. Each individual, each book, becomes whole, true, distinct, a world unto itself, only by virtue of the authoritative metaphor of absolute monarchy. Hence, what at first appears to be an absolutism that would merely elad to the subjection of all individuals except the monarch was actually for Cavendish the foundation for a subjectivity that would make its own claims." (26-7)
"In Cavendish's writings, then, the absolute is reimagined as that which she conceives to be the private and the feminine. But this entails the concomitatnt reimaginging of the feminine as absolutely private, subjective, and yet nonsubjected." (30)
"Throughout her writings, when a kingdom of the self is invoked, it carries with it imploications of multiplicity: one is a commonwealth." (30)

infinite regress of worlds within worlds (31) -- "These imaginary worlds, therefore, display the same infinite recessiveness that Cavendish, anticipating Leibniz, believed existed in every particle of nature" (32)

"Absolutism and relativism, then, become two sides of one logic in her works; she uses perspective to de-center the universe by insisting on the eccentricity -- the absoluteness -- of all knowing." (32)

"In The Blazing World, for example, absolutism entails the elusiveness of subjectivity: (1) the absolutist iamgines the self as microcosm; (2) the microcosm requires an absolute ruler, a figure of the self i nthe world of the self; (3) the ruler of the microcosm, finding herself to be but a part of the microcosm she inhabits, must create yet another microcosm in order to meet the demands of absolutism. Such a text finally imagines subjectivity as an infinite, unfathomable regression of interiority." (32) -- classic mise en abyme
"Cavendish's texts show that the infinitude of selfhood accompanies the birth of the subject." (32)