CAVENDISH, Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle (1623-1673). Poems and Fancies: written by the Right Honourable Lady Newcastle. London: T.R. for J. Martin and J. Allestrye, 1653.

First edition of the first publication of Margaret Cavendish—a collection of poems on swerving atoms and moral philosophy described by a contemporary as "ten times more Extravagant then [the author’s] dress." Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, was a larger-than-life character in an already dramatic time. Widely read and prolifically productive as a writer, she followed Queen Henrietta Maria into exile on the continent in 1644, living abroad in Paris, Rotterdam, and Antwerp before returning with a new husband upon the Restoration of Charles II. In exile, she spent time with important Enlightenment thinkers including René Descartes and Christiaan Huygens, who were part of her husband's intellectual circle. Although often regarded as alternately eccentric or mad, Cavendish's unusual brand of atomic materialism earned her the honor of the being the first woman invited to the Royal Academy. This is the issue without the portrait, with a variation title page with an ornament instead of the Bell vignette. Hayward suggests this is a "proof before printer's engraved device," but since it is mounted on a stub, it seems likely to be a cancel. Wing N869; ESTC R231352; Hayward 106.

Folio (274 x 165mm). Title page with ornament, on stub. Woodcut and factotum initials (a few spots, small edge repairs, wormtracks affecting a few lines of text, gutter dampstaining affecting end of text, final leaf short). Olive morocco gilt by Philip Dusel after the style of Lewis, edges gilt. Provenance: "Elizabeth Pain" (inscription dated 13th January 16?3) – "Elias Harry Paine and Mary Paine, their book 1747" (inscription).
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