THE PHILOSOPHER: Margaret Cavendish

Four hundred years ago, Margaret Cavendish dared to contemplate the biggest philosophical questions of her day. Brilliant and bold, she wrote 21 books despite being dismissed or mocked by the almost entirely male intellectual community. A famously eccentric dresser, she and her husband hosted high-society parties at their fantastical castle, but she was also paralyzed by bashfulness and dreaded talking to people. She hoped that her intellectual works would lead to eternal fame, but she …

THE SAINT: Margaret Clitherow, Martyr of the English Reformation

    Margaret Clitherow’s life–and death–were shaped by the religious upheavals of the Protestant Reformation in Elizabethan (16th century) England. A devoted Catholic in a time and place where Catholicism was illegal, she played a powerful role in a kind of “spy” network secretly harboring Catholic priests in the city of York. When a young boy living in her household exposed her secrets, she was imprisoned and then executed by the gruesome method of being …