Just Out . . . 


From Saltar's Point Press, A New Edition of Margaret Cavendish's The Female Academy


When Margaret Cavendish published her first collection of dramatic work in 1662, she was keenly aware that none of her comedies or tragedies was unlikely to be acted, at least in her lifetime--but that did not deter her. “To those that do delight in scenes and wit / I dedicate my book,” she writes at the beginning of Plays.

As for the hard reality that her plays were not to be produced? She has an answer for that as well: “For all the time my plays a-making were, / My brain the stage, my thoughts were acting there.”

The Female Academy, the last play her 1662 collection, opens with a fait accompli—a group of “old matrons” has established an educational institution devoted exclusively to the education of young women, “a house wherein a company of young ladies are instructed by old matrons . . . to speak wittily and rationally, . . . to behave themselves handsomely, and to live virtuously.”  

In this play, Cavendish presents the Female Academy as an institution created by women for women.  The play also allows us to see the reactions of men, excluded from the Female Academy.  Instead of ignoring the school, or wishing its young pupils well in their educational pursuits, men can’t stay away—they hang around and spy on what’s going on through “a large open grate” that allows them to hear the lectures being given inside. The play alternates scenes between the young women inside the Female Academy and the men in the outside world.

This forthcoming edition, designed for classroom use, provides an ample introduction to Cavendish and her work, a carefully modernized text, with helpful glosses and notes, and a useful bibliography with references for further reading. 



Someday, I Hope. . . .  An Edition of Amber Reeves's A Lady and Her Husband

More than a dozen years before Virginia Woolf articulated her now-famous claim that a woman needed a room of her own (with a lock on the door), Mary Heyham came to the same conclusion.  Facing a series of personal, intellectual, and economic crises, she realized that in order to prepare herself to confront—and to solve—the problems that threatened to destroy her, she would need a room of her own.  And Amber Reeves gave her one in her 1914 novel, A Lady and Her Husband.  

This amazing novel has never been republished and remains out of print. Dusa McDuff is the copyright holder for the works of Amber Reeves.  I have contacted her, and she is very supportive of the publication of a new edition of A Lady and Her Husband.  As for a copy text, after nearly five years of searching, I have managed to find (and buy) a copy of the American edition of A Lady and Her Husband (G. P. Putnam’s Sons; the novel was published in England by William Heinemann).  The novel is 379 pages in its 1914 edition, approximately 114,000 words.

I may not be the right person to see a new edition of A Lady and Her Husband into print—but it is a labor of love for me, and I am looking for a press to take on this project.  If you can help, please contact me. . . .