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In Memoriam: Brandie R. Siegfried

In Memoriam: Brandie R. Siegfried

It is with great sorrow and a heavy heart that we commemorate Brandie Siegfried who passed away last week after her fight with cancer. Her fierce and wide-ranging intellect, kindness, generosity, and passion were an inspiration for many.

As the Nan Grass Professor of English at Brigham Young University, her research focused on women of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In particular, she published widely on Margaret Cavendish, becoming a formative influence upon the field and helping to establish Cavendish's significance for literature, western philosophy, science, and political thought.

Brandie’s Other Voice edition of Cavendish's Poems and Fancies with the Animal Parliament (Iter Press) won the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and Gender's Josephine Roberts Award for the Best Scholarly Edition of 2018. The citation for the award commended “Siegfried’s erudite and thorough contextualization of Margaret Cavendish's diverse intellectual interests and reading in the natural sciences, literature, classics, mathematics, and philosophy [for] mak[ing] the most complex aspects of Cavendish’s writings—such as her ‘atomic’ theories—accessible to the modern reader. Siegfried’s edition offers a model for future editions of early modern women writers and ensures that the work of Margaret Cavendish receives its rightful place in the history of European thought and early modern women’s history.”

Brandie also coedited two collections of essays on Cavendish: with Lisa Sarasohn. God and Nature in the Thought of Margaret Cavendish (Ashgate 2014); and with Lisa Walters, Margaret Cavendish: an Interdisciplinary Perspective (Cambridge Univ. Press, forthcoming). She also coedited with Pamela Hammons World-making Women: New Perspectives on the Centrality of Women in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Culture (CUP, forthcoming 2021). In addition to her broad repertoire of publications on Cavendish, she also wrote on Elizabeth I, Grace O'Malley, Aemilia Lanyer, Shakespeare, and Herbert.

Brandie was past President of the Margaret Cavendish Society, as well as past President of the Queen Elizabeth I Society. In 2013 she organized and hosted the International Margaret Cavendish Society’s biennial conference in Provo, Utah. Brandie was indeed very active and beloved in the Society, co-organizing numerous international conferences, and encouraging younger scholars with her brilliance, warmth, graciousness and vitality. She will be sorely missed, and we are heartbroken at this tremendous loss.

She is survived by her husband, Mitch Harris, who was a regular, enthusiastic presence at Margaret Cavendish conferences and is a friend of our scholarly community.

Lisa Walters, for the International Margaret Cavendish Society

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