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Review: "The Female Quixote" by Charlotte Lennox

The Female Quixote may be downloaded for free from our ebook catalog. This text has just been corrected by generous volunteer Clare and will soon be available at Project Gutenberg through our proofreading project with Make sure to download a new copy of this one if you downloaded it before now! Our review follows.

The Female Quixote by Charlotte LennoxThe romance was the major form of literature from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Romances were epic tales full of heroism, adventure and chivalry, sometimes involving gods or legendary figures. After the Renaissance came a slow transition to shorter, less epic and less fantastic forms of literature to what we now appreciate as the "novel". By the mid-1700s, when Charlotte Lennox wrote The Female Quixote, romances were considered by many as dangerous. With a comparatively large literate population and books becoming easier to mass produce, romances lead credulous readers to think that the dream worlds of heroism and fantasy were true. Or so some thought.

The Female Quixote is the story of Arabella who has lived in seclusion all her life. With only her recluse father and a mountain of old romances as companions, Arabella grows up thinking that the world of her books is the world that she lives in. All is fine and good in her quiet abode until her uncle and cousins arrive and she is thrown into society. You can hardly imagine the trouble she gets into. Any man riding a horse is a probable ravisher. Any gardener with a literate accent is a man in disguise intending to carry her away. A small argument between two young men will no doubt turn into a bloody duel over the affections of a lady.

The story is bit sluggish at times, but always full of strange and funny episodes. Particularly funny is the history of Sir George, one of Arabella's many admirers. He recounts his life story (or what he wants Arabella to believe it is), complete with a dethroned Prince, bloody duels, imprisonment and multiple damsels in distress.

The Female Quixote is an amusing read that perhaps has applications to modern living. Has anyone ever told you that too much television will rot your brain? Or that trashy romance novels will give you wrong notions of relationships? Sit up and take note.


  1. Clare says:

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