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A perfect stranger : the development of Margaret Cavendish's natural philosophy

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A perfect stranger : the development of Margaret Cavendish's natural philosophy

Lynch, Marianne (2008) A perfect stranger : the development of Margaret Cavendish's natural philosophy. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The natural philosophy of Margaret Cavendish is a fragmented collection of texts and ideas. In this thesis, the multiple lenses of learning theory, writing theory, history and philosophy of science, and literary studies are employed to show the ultimate coherence of Cavendish's science. The mechanism of a taxonomy of cognitive processes is applied to explore the gradual evolution of her understanding of her material and ideas. Writing process theories further illuminate both the ways that her thinking develops as she composes and the ways that she comes to manipulate her texts in view of her changing relationship with her reading audience. Exploring the social and political influences affecting the development of early modern science further adds to an understanding of the opinions that Cavendish comes to hold. Finally, the literary and linguistic elements of her text, including their genre, structure, rhetorical devices and figurative language, contribute significantly to a full recognition of Cavendish's evolving scientific and epistemic beliefs. By examining her eight texts most concerned with natural philosophy as revelatory parts of a process rather than discrete meaning-entities, it is clear that Cavendish was responding to complex internal and external forces that simultaneously shaped her writing, her thinking, her social vision, her science, and her larger conception of nature and knowledge.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies
Concordia University > Research Units > Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Lynch, Marianne
Pagination:viii, 203 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Humanities
Date:2008
Thesis Supervisor(s):Herz, J
ID Code:975210
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 15:44
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:39
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