The Female Quixote; or, The Adventures of Arabella was a novel written by Charlotte Lennox imitating and parodying the ideas of Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote. Published in 1752, it was her best known and most celebrated work. It was approved by both Henry Fielding and Samuel Richardson, applauded by Samuel Johnson, and used as a model by Jane Austen for her famous work, Northanger Abbey.
Female Quixote (Arabella) story inverts that of Don Quixote: as the Don mistakes himself for the knightly hero of a Romance, so Arabella mistakes herself for the maiden of a Romance. Adventure, sword fights, and confusion ensue.
It has been called a burlesque, "satirical harlequinade", and a depiction of the real power of females. While some dismissed Arabella as a coquette who simply used romance as a tool, Scott Paul Gordon said that she "exercises immense power without any consciousness of doing so". Norma Clarke has ranked it with Clarissa, Tom Jones, and Roderick Random as one of the "defining texts in the development of the novel in the eighteenth century".
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About the Author
Amanda Gilroy and Wil Verhoeven both teach at the University of Groningen, having previously taught at Brown University in the US. Together they have edited Gilbert Imlay's The Emigrants for Penguin Classics and they have also published widely in the area of historical travel writing.
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