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In Memoriam: Cristina Malcolmson

Cristina Malcolmson, Professor Emerita of English at Bates College, and a scholar who made important contributions to Cavendish scholarship, died in July 2020. Tina’s article, “Christine de Pizan in Early Modern England,” arguing that Cavendish’s stepson brought Christine’s “Queen’s Manuscript” (British Library Harley MS 4431) to England, her husband William having purchased it in France, suggested that Cavendish had access to the works of Christine de Pizan as she wrote her own works. The article appeared in Debating Gender in Early Modern England, 1500–1700 (Palgrave, 2002), which Tina coedited with Mihoko Suzuki. Tina’s Studies of Skin Color in the Early Royal Society: Boyle, Cavendish, Swift (Ashgate, 2013), shortlisted for the British Society for Literature and Science Book Prize, made a groundbreaking intervention in our understanding of Cavendish’s place in the history of science by showing that The Blazing Worldconstituted a satiric response to Robert Boyle’s Experiments and Considerations Touching Colours (1664). Challenging Boyle’s—and the Royal Society’s—claim to “master Nature,” Cavendish maintains that all humans are Nature’s creatures and attributes to animals, women, and non-Europeans creativity and knowledge unrecognized by the Royal Society. Moreover, in an Appendix, “Jonathan Swift’s Debt to Margaret Cavendish,” she demonstrated that Cavendish anticipated Swift’s similar critique in Gulliver’s Travels, and that Swift used The Blazing World as one of his sources.

In addition to her scholarship on Cavendish, Tina made an important contribution to the International Margaret Cavendish Society by generously hosting its very successful 12th conference in June, 2017 at the beautiful campus of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. Her warm and welcoming presence made the conference not only a vibrant context for Cavendish scholarship, but also a memorably enjoyable one.

Mihoko Suzuki

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