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Beautiful and independent, Arabella has been brought up in rural seclusion by her widowed father. Devoted to reading French romances, the sheltered young woman imagines all sorts of misadventures that can befall a heroine such as herself. As she makes forays into fashionable society in Bath and London, many scrapes and mortifications ensue - all men seem like predators wishing to ravish her, she mistakes a cross-dressing prostitute for a distressed gentlewoman, and she risks her life by throwing herself into the Thames to avoid a potential seducer. Can Arabella be cured of her romantic delusions? An immediate success when it first appeared in 1752, The Female Quixote is a wonderfully high-spirited parody of the style of Cervantes, and a telling and comic depiction of eighteenth-century English society.
Charlotte Lennox (1720 - 1804), American-born English novelist whose work was much admired by leading literary figures of her time, including Samuel Johnson and the novelists Henry Fielding and Samuel Richardson. Lennox's first novel was The Life of Harriot Stuart (1751). The Female Quixote (1752) and Henrietta (1758) followed. 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.