Charlotte Lennox, The Female Quixote

Alexis McQuigge (University of Regina)
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Written in 1752, Charlotte Lennox’s second novel, The Female Quixote, engages with almost too many questions to count surrounding the development of the early novel. Featuring a young woman, Arabella, the titular Female Quixote who is raised reading only her deceased mother’s French romances, the novel emerges from deep within a debate on the transformative value of fiction and female education, reading habits, and morality. Readers familiar with French romances of the seventeenth century will easily recognize how Arabella’s behaviour mirrors those of Scudery's and La Calprenède's heroines, while those who are less familiar might struggle to see the textual connections but will still understand the height of Lennox’s satire against those early fictions. Having fled from court…

2282 words

Citation: McQuigge, Alexis. "The Female Quixote". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 March 2018 [, accessed 09 December 2023.]

38754 The Female Quixote 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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