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The Female Quixote: or The Adventures of Arabella (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 17 Apr 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks (17 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199540241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199540242
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 2.8 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 215,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Charlotte Lennox (1729-1804) was born in Gibralter, lived for a time in New York and later became a ladies' companion in London. An unsuccessful actor, she wrote two collections of poetry, five novels and two plays. Samuel Johnson thought her superior to his other female literary friends, such as Hannah More and Fanny Burney. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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THE Marquis of —— for a long Series of Years, was the first and most distinguished Favourite at Court: He held the most honourable Employments under the Crown, disposed of all Places of Profit as he pleased, presided at the Council, and in a manner governed the whole Kingdom. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Sept. 2000
Format: Paperback
Arabella is a romantic heroine. Or so she believes. Living in an isolated environment with her father and a large fortune, Arabella is separated from society: her many misunderstandings are born from the alternative reality she gleans from romantic fiction. Lennox's novel is not a romance. Rather, the comedy of Arabella's constant recourse to antiquated and melodramatic heroic values and code of conduct is eventually subverted by the Clergyman who enacts the role of 'male reformer', forcing Arabella to reassess her inflated sense of self-importance in a society where women are not supposed to have 'adventures', and, as the Doctor says to her, 'A long life may be passed without a single occurrence that can cause much surprize, or produce any unexpected consequence of great importance.' An interesting read in terms of how women's roles are perceived in the eighteenth century. Yet despite the fact that this novel was written more than two hundred years ago, the comedy of Arabella's early adventures is still fresh and she represents a remarkable, if comically absurd, woman in a society where females were to be representations of the Passive and Pursued. The ending, in the light of this, is a little disappointing, although the taming of Arabella's wilful independence was necessary for Lennox to get the approval of leading (male) novelists...
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By kehs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback
I found this classic a little hard going, mainly because of its writing style, but stuck with it and am so glad that I did. What follows is a highly amusing tale of one young lady's view on the world. Oh, and apparently, Jane Austen took it as a model for her novel, Northanger Abbey.

The main character, Arabella, is a spoilt and privileged young lady who has been brought up in a secluded castle. To relieve her boredom she reads through her father's library of romances and uses them as a guideline for how to behave in society. Of course, these cause her to have a warped view of how her friends should behave and lead to everyone thinking that she is completely bonkers. Arabella really believes that life is like a romance novel with her as the heroine.

This is a classic that I am so pleased to have finally read. Try it yourself to discover why it has stood the test of time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alexei V. Lopez Enriquez on 2 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I cannot deny I bought this book out of curiosity (Since it's an attempt to emulate Cervantes' masterpiece). I wanted to go deep into Don Quixote's influence on English literature and I came across this nice Romance. Though not as profound, witty and deeply concerned with man's condition, The Female Quixote does shed light on the conditions of woman in the book's publication time and also provides some criticism on the vices of the age. Monomany appears to be central to the novel and not few hillarious misunderstandings happen due to this delusion of the heroine's mind. Who wouldn't laugh at finding so fine a lady caught in so many "adventures"?
Some people have observed the book is a little difficult to read (I think this is so for native speakers of English) not as hard for speakers of Spanish or French, who also happen to read English.
In a way, the writer focused her attention in the role of fiction in regard to its relationship to reality (you can find a whole chapter in which the main character discusses about it). All in all, this book is a fun read.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By W.M.M. van der Salm-Pallada on 20 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
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 eightheenth century Twihard, only sans vampires. This becomes problematic when she decides this is how the world should work and leads her life accordingly. Naturally, the world doesn't work like this and when Arabella's father dies, her life becomes complicated, as her perceptions of life and the real world start to clash. Arabella's voice is distinct and unique and was problematic for me. Lennox let her speak in the language of romance and that means long, convuluted senctences, which sometimes require several rereads to make sense. The following is a good example of Arabella's speech:

"When I shall be so fortunate, interrupted she, to meet with a Lover who shall have as pure and perfect a Passion for me, as Oroondates had for Statira; and give me as many glorious Proofs of his Constancy and Affection, doubtless I shall not be ungrateful: But since I have not the Merits of Statira, I ought not to pretend to her good Fortune; and shall be very well contented if I escape the Persecutions which Persons of my Sex, who are not frightfully ugly, are always exposed to, without hoping to inspire such a Passion as that of Oroondates." (p. 48)

Arabella speaks as if she should write on pink paper with purple ink and dot her i's with hearts. Luckily, only Arabella and occasionally Sir George, he of dishonourable intent, use this mode of speech.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
An Eighteenth-Century Women's Novel 27 Jun. 2001
By fmb - Published on
Format: Paperback
Charlotte Lennox's heroine, raised in complete seclusion from the world by her misanthropic father, grows up believing that romances (of the chivalric kind already satirized by Cervantes more than a century before in the original Don Quixote)are true histories and that the extravagant behavior of the knights and heroes in such texts is the model for modern (18th century)men. Poor Arabella is doomed to be ridiculous! Her world of romance never was and never will be. But although she makes the most absurd mistakes, she is intelligent and strangely wise much of the time: she ignores fashion, she believes in complete honesty and fidelity, she rejects all accomodations to practical, but base, worldly wisdom. She constructs a world of her own in which women, who in the real world were quite helpless and treated as chattel, hold real power.
It is perhaps unfortunate that Lennox was a bit too much under the influence of Samuel Richardson and Samuel Johnson, both great writers but quite conservative in their views about women and their place in society (firmly under the power of men). The ending of the novel seems rushed and sad. Poor Arabella, so delightfully original throughout most of the novel, is "reformed"--as one of my friends said after reading it, and so "she becomes completely ordinary." If it weren't for the ending, the book would get five stars.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By L. Remi - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought the copy of this book that was being sold by Amazon and was published by General Books. DON NOT BUY IT!! It was absolutly terrible. I was charged $9.42, when in reality they should have been paying me to read that trash. In the General Books copy there were errors on almost every page. It made it a struggle to read. For example: page 86 "liNI) of the second book" or on page 69 "Ac-corJirgly". Those are just two of the hundreds of errors. If you don't mind the errors then buy that copy; however, if you intend on keeping this book or using it for any type of school assignment, do not buy from General Books.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Book is fine but don't buy the "Seven Treasures" edition 8 Nov. 2009
By Andrew Louis Black - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an important book, a pleasure to read. But do NOT buy the Seven Treasures edition. Though it is a few dollars cheaper, it has no introduction, no index, no footnotes. There are many typographical errors - anything Dipthongs come out in weird characters, and there are several mispellings (and this beyond the non-standardized pronunciations; at various points the characters' names are misspelled).

The entire edition looks as though it has been merely cut and pasted from one of the many free online texts onto MSWord, without much of a proofreading. You may as well do the same and avoid paying the 10 bucks + shipping.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Perhaps better for analysis than enjoyment 13 Nov. 2010
By Arthur M. Bullock - Published on
Format: Paperback
I certainly have no reason to question the importance of "The Female Quixote" as a milestone in the development of the English novel, in particular the branch that led to the works of Jane Austen. The Oxford "World's Classics" edition that I read had an excellent introduction that covered major points regarding its significance, as well as background on Lennox. So the work is without doubt important. The question remains, is it something I would recommend reading for pleasure?

This novel is in essence a one-joke story, a form that sometimes works (the obvious example being Cervantes' original) and usually doesn't. Here, where Arabella's wild assumptions generally lead to rather low-key consequences, the form is not without some amusement, but generally falls well short of hilarity. The French romances that are the targets of lampooning are deservedly quite obscure now, at least in English, so it is essential to have an edition like the Oxford one that supplies copious notes. In fact, I think they may overdo this a bit, but better too much than too little. The structure of the novel also has what can fairly be regarded as defects, such as its abrupt ending. (I won't go into further detail about this, as I'd just be rehashing points raised in previous reviews.) So I'm glad I read this novel, but it isn't something I'm tempted to ever read again.

Personally, I'm no fan of recent trends toward absolute fidelity to the original editions in modern versions. I can live with editions of Austen that preserve her misspellings (although after a while I'm afraid I'm going to start writing "neice"). However, all the capitalized nouns, as if this were German, and proper names in italics in the Oxford "Female Quixote" became somewhat distracting.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
good story 1 April 2004
By Alex H - Published on
Format: Paperback
Alright, let's get it straight, this is an 18th century novel, not 17th, and while it is tedious at times, for the most part it's very charming and often made me laugh.
I understand that the ending is the "triumph of rationalism over idealism and romanticism," but frankly, I was a little disappointed at the abruptness of it. But who am I to criticize? This is an early novel, and the form hadn't quite been perfected yet, so there are a few loose ends and a large digression in book 6, which was the style of the time.
I recommend reading this with Rasselas, in which Johnson claims the realistic novel is as dangerous to youth as Lennox says of the romance in The Female Quixote.
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