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The Female Quixote

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  1,390 ratings  ·  75 reviews

A young woman is caught up in her ideas about romance and valor in this celebrated eighteenth-century parody of Don Quixote

Written in 1752 and admired by Henry Fielding, Samuel Richardson, and Dr. Johnson, The Female Quixote relates the comic misadventures of Arabella, a hapless aristocrat whose life becomes hopelessly confused with the romantic fiction she so adores. Cha

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Published July 16th 2009 by ReadHowYouWant (first published 1752)
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The concept of a woman driven as crazy as Don Quixote by her reading of overwrought eighteenth century romances was I thought an amusing one, but didn't make for a great book. Possibly the execution was difficult because of the relatively restricted sphere of movement that her heroine has in 18th century England. I felt that Jane Austen achieved a better result in Northanger Abbey in which her heroine interprets everything she hears in the light of the gothic-fantasties that she is always readin ...more
Hah, what a lovely little book this is. What a lovely, deliciously ridiculous book this is. Seriously, it's a romp.

From the title itself, you can discern that it involves some kind of delusional mis-adventurer. Quite right, as the story revolves around the life-story of the Lady Arabella, who is as beautiful as she is intelligent, graceful and kind-hearted. It is a pity that, with all her admirable traits, she is possessed with a mind too swayed by the romances stocked in her library.

In this boo
Jul 21, 2008 Kelly marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 18th-century
A parody of Cervantes from the 18th century. About a girl who reads too many romances and does silly things. I'm excited for it.
Let me be honest; The Female Quixote was a huge struggle to get through. Only the fact that I'd decided that I was going to finish this book and review it, kept me from putting it away. Frustratingly, this wasn't because the story as such was bad or the writing was shoddy, it was because Lennox's protagonist Arabella does what she is meant to do too well.

Arabella is completely obsessed with French Romances. She's an eighteenth century Twihard, only sans vampires. This becomes problematic when sh
Travelling Sunny
Dec 08, 2013 Travelling Sunny rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Don Quixote
Shelves: 1305-read
Found a free downloadable copy HERE. I love it when that happens!

This may be against protocol, and I realize that I only gave Don Quixote three stars. But, I enjoyed this parody more than its roastee. I warn would-be readers: this is not as bawdy as DQ. But, the laughs are there just the same.

Instead of Don Quixote, we have Arabella - a young lady who has been isolated from the world in her father's country estate and has read way too many romance novels. Everything that happens around her is mi
Dec 07, 2008 Rachel rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: serious literature students
This book is absolutely not for everyone. I liked it, though.

Portions can be quite tedious, yes, and the book as a whole is fairly outdated (hey, it was written over 250 years ago). But, it was a very popular book in its day and I think it's an important work for anyone who's at all serious about getting to know either 18th century British literature or women's British literature.

The ending is quite rushed, which is shameful, but this is apparently because the author was urged by friends (includ
Written almost 150 years after the original Don Quixote, Charlotte Lennox attempted similar popularity by creating these adventures of Arabella. Like Don Quixote, Arabella lives in a delusional world so unlike reality that she creates her own drama simply by existing.

Raised on poorly translated romances that she reads to be gospel, Arabella's expectations of the world involves chivalry like the kind she read in the romances of Cleopatra's life. When it comes to her suitors she expects her men to
So we need to start off with The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox, the bloody great groundbreaking 1752 proto-novel with the same premise as the male Quixote, which I haven't read yet. If Hilary McKay, Frances Hodgson Burnett, the Brontes, and all Mary Wollstonecraft's friends hadn't been invented yet, I would dig The Female Quixote more than I did. Jane Austen was a fan. The Female Quixote mocks the French romances whose shoulders it rides on, the preposterous novels that gave young ladies st ...more
Just finished this book for my 18th Century Women Writers course and found it to be quite humorous, as many of the 18th c. books are.
Some interesting questions were raised in my class, such as--do the women have agency in the novel? Why does a male figure (the doctor/clergyman) eventually become the hero who works a "miracle" and talks some sense into romantic Arabella? Why did the Countess have to leave the plot? And so on.
I thought that the attention given to the "proper" ways to behave in soc
Monty Milne
This book is one joke stretched too thin. The heroine can never be a Quixote because she is almost entirely passive - imprisoned by gender and social status as much as Rapunzel in her tower. The joke - that she takes seriously the trashy French cod-medieval romances fashionable at the time - wears increasingly thin with every boring repetition of the absurdities of her favourite fictional characters.

The book isn't all bad. It's of some interest in the history of the development of the novel (No
William Leight
“The Female Quixote” doesn’t reach the same heights as its namesake, but it’s still quite good and very amusing, and I would say compares favorably to the similar in some respects “Northanger Abbey”. It is, of course, about someone who has read too many bad books and so lost touch with reality: in this case, it’s 17-century French romances that have disarranged the mind of Arabella, the title character. Unlike Quixote, though, Arabella is not a candidate to be institutionalized: she doesn’t thin ...more
James Rauch
This is a dreadful novel! Much much worse than Austin's Emma. Although I do concede it has a degree of humour to it, the novel only becomes funny on the second read and only to certain people. Personally, Arabella's ridiculous statements and views influenced by her romances were infuriating, not funny. All of her episodes made her more and more ridiculous, I am amazed that I actually finished this book. The only good chapter in The Female Quixote is the final chapter wherein Arabella is cured of ...more
One of the better classics I've read (and one of the only books I've enjoyed on my course this year) - if you enjoy Austen's Emma or Northanger Abbey, where you and the narrator sit alongside each other and despair as the heroine makes foolish mistake after foolish mistake, then I'd definitely recommend it. Also good for anybody who has had to suffer any Middle English in their degree - I felt like this book mocked and derided every aspect of Medieval romance that had frustrated the hell out of ...more
Arabella, the protagonist in this novel, is truly just one of the most stupid people ever. Convinced that works of fiction are real, she lives her live by them, believing that any man who lays eyes on her is desperately in love with her, banishing them from her presence, and telling them that she doesn't want them to die because of their love for her. This idiotic behaviour is such fun to read. I feel myself to be like Miss Glanville, gobsmacked by how everyone around her falls in love with Arab ...more
It is a bit of a one line joke as was Don Quixote but it's delivered well and explored in all its different possible permutations.

Our lovely young heroine has raised herself on a diet of fantastical romances and has disregarded all other works which might have been supposed to provide a leavening of commonsense. The result is a hysterical fool whose arrant stupidity endangers and humiliates everyone around her. Charlotte Lennox tries hard to convince me of this young ladies worth but she fails.
Jul 29, 2007 Katharine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of 'Northanger Abbey'
Shelves: c18, womenwriters
Re-reading for the third time while revising my conference paper on it. I'm on the lookout for particular elements this time, but it's still fun; I've forgotten just how arch Lennox could be.
Janez Hočevar
Quite enjoying, but trying sometimes. On the whole, quite worth the patience of reading!! It rivals with the most funny book of the English literature of 18th century, Tom Jones.
Keep hoping someone will slap some sense into Arabella.
Finished the book this morning, it was ok but very dated but it is from the 1750's so it is understandable.
La colpa delle migliori invenzioni romanzesche consiste nell'insegnare alle giovani menti ad aspettarsi strane avventure ed improvvise vicissitudini, incoraggiandole spesso a fidarsi del caso. Invece, si può vivere a lungo senza che capiti un solo fatto che sorprenda o che produca conseguenze inaspettate di grande importanza. L'ordine del mondo è stabilito in modo tale che tutti gli affari umani procedono con metodo e regolarità, e rimane poco spazio per lo scoppio delle passioni o per i pericol ...more
Charlotte Rose
I can't be the only person who didn't see this book as anti-novel reading! This is one of my favorite books ever and to me it makes a point about the lack of female education at the time (Hey, even the value we place on female education now!) and the way that women were often kept totally separate from 'real life'. Like children being moved from one parent to another (father to husband). Of course, since Arabella knows nothing of the world, and her father is not the involved parent of the year, ...more
Charlotte Lennox's "The Female Quixote, or The Aventures of Arabella" is a somewhat amusing tale of a woman who lets her romantic notions rule the day with disastrous results.

The heroine of the novel, Arabella, has lived a reclusive life and has been fed a steady diet of romantic French novels, which she comes to believe are factual illustrations of love. When she comes of age to marry, she mistakenly believes that most men are out to steal her away and ravish her. Her ardent suitor Glanville is
Jun 19, 2010 Rui rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: only people who enjoyed DonQuixote, or those that have to read it.
My personal opinion (of course): I didn't like this book, and I can almost say that I hate it. (Thus I highly suspect that I'm going to hate the orig. Quixote story when I read it, too.) The only saving grace that got me through this book, other than that it was required for my university course (correction; that's not a saving grace at all), was that it was so ridiculous that it screamed "fiction! fiction!!!" every time I glanced at it and so I was able to tell myself "no one is this bad in rea ...more
This book was a struggle to get through. While I loved the writing, pretty much everything else about the book I disliked, a lot. I get it was a satire, but the book never clicked right with me. Arabella is a very disagreeable character, and because she's the main book, it made me dislike the book even more.

I found it to be very repetitive, after a while even the small amount of humour I got from Arabella's antics got boring, not to mention gave me the urge to give her a smack upside the head. I
Aug 02, 2009 Lesliemae rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like Cervantes
Recommended to Lesliemae by: Chantel Lavoie
In the realm of prose fiction, the eighteenth century distinguished two chief modes of prose narrative, “the non-realistic, poetic, and mythic “romance” and the realistic “novel”” (Schulz 77). Critics have regularly located the genre conventions of “romance” as a creative dead end that “thematizes women’s writing” of the period (Gallagher 179). By way of contrast, Patricia Martin investigates the polemics of eighteenth century male authors like Samuel Richardson and Henry Fielding, and their vis ...more
Helen Kitson
The heroine of this novel is Arabella, whose early life has been spent in the secluded home of her father, her mother having died giving birth to Arabella. Much of her time has been spent reading 'romances' - which, in an 18th century context, refers to historically-based stories of tragic heroines. 'By them she was taught to believe, that Love was the ruling Principle of the World; that every other Passion was subordinate to this.'

She takes the books she reads far too seriously and, when she fi
This has been on my reading list for a long time, and I think I built up a lot of expectations about it. However, I didn't really know what the story was actually about before I started reading.

Basically, Charlotte Lennox models the story after Don Quixote, and the "heroine" (I'm a bit ambivalent about her heroine-ship; more on that later), who has read way too many "romance" novels (think chivalry), has a ridiculous world view. Lady Arabella is raised by her father, who allows her to indulge he
One of the absolute best books I've ever read. I read it as a ridiculously naive 22 year old, didn't know anything about the pain of love, just a very very naive person. Arabella me mad and I wrote about her naive, sheltered world, her being out to lunch, the "dangers" of fairy tales, etc, etc for a paper (was required reading for a lit course). Well ... it's funny, since then (a long duration) I've looked at the book as I've walked past my book shelf and thought yeah that's one I've got to read ...more
This book is really funny. True, it is an 18th century novel so you'll have to get used to the random capitalization of some words. But really, as I read it, I laughed out loud. At first, the length of the book (more than 400 pages) makes it seems daunting, but it is entertaining and a quick read. The heroine of the novel is Lady Arabella, a young girl with good sense but whose mind has been corrupted by reading too many romances. And the author means romance not in the sense of the modern roman ...more
Very enjoyable. It did take a while to become enjoyable, I think because you have to get past the fact that Arabella is so incredibly frustrating. But that's the point of the book. It does take a while for the story to get rolling, but the characters are well drawn, the plot is not overly predictable, and Arabella is delightful.

Very clever idea from Lennox in taking Quixote and applying the same basic concept to a female protagonist: What if someone became so engrossed in romance novels that th
A century before Madame Bovary, this English novel inspired me to truly ponder upon the way women have been socialised through their reading matter. Arabella is an an amazingly unique and independant character and lessons are learned when she does not conform to the values of her period, especially when it is her reading matter which is the major influence. Arabella is such a strong character and like Emma Bovary, she is motherless. Her education into womanhood are the French novels in her dead ...more
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Charlotte Ramsay Lennox (born: c. 1730) was a British author and poet of the 18th century. She is most famous now as the author of The Female Quixote and for her association with Samuel Johnson, Joshua Reynolds, and Samuel Richardson, but she had a long career and wrote poetry, prose, and drama.
More about Charlotte Lennox...
Sophia Henrietta Euphemia The Life of Harriot Stuart Written by Herself Shakespear (Volume 1); Or the Novels and Histories, on Which the Plays of Shakespear Are Founded, . Collected and Translated from the Original

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“For Heaven's sake, Cousin, resumed Arabella, laughing, how have you spent your Time; and to what Studies have you devoted all your Hours, that you could find none to spare for the Perusal of Books from which all useful Knowlege may be drawn; which give us the most shining Examples of Generosity, Courage, Virtue, and Love; which regulate our Actions, form our Manners, and inspire us with a noble Desire of emulating those great, heroic, and virtuous Actions, which made those Persons so glorious in their Age, and so worthy Imitation in ours?” 2 likes
“For if I knew how to please you, I would never, if I could help it, offend.” 1 likes
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