This article investigates two literary works from the premodern era: Mandeville's Travels (composed between 1357 and 1371) and Margaret Cavendish's The Blazing World (1666), both of which depict hybrid creatures as natural rather than monstrously unnatural. These two texts are compared as major examples of travel literature, a genre that explores concepts of the known and unknown, often investigating the possibility of hybrid creatures and their significance. Many literary critics describe hybridity as equating to unnaturalness, to the monstrous “other.” Yet the fact that the hybrids featured in Mandeville's Travels and The Blazing World so readily blend with ordinary animals highlights that they are meant to be understood as natural, since animals are natural by default of creation. The depiction of hybrid creatures in these two texts effectively opens up a new dialogue about hybridity in the literature of this period, unveiling a way for a creature to be simultaneously hybrid and natural.

You do not currently have access to this content.