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Robin Chapman, 18 September 1986

Don Quixote 
by E.C. Riley.
Allen and Unwin, 224 pp., £18, February 1986, 0 04 800009 4
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Don Quixote – which was a dream 
by Kathy Acker.
Paladin, 207 pp., £2.95, April 1986, 0 586 08554 8
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... been satellite works ranging from Don Quixote Redivivus in 1673, by way of The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox, published in 1752 and just reissued* (not the first gender-bending of the subject, a Madam Quixot appeared in 1678), to my own The Duchess’s Diary of 1980, Graham Greene’s Monsignor Quixote of 1982, and now Kathy Acker’s Don Quixote ...


Pat Rogers, 7 August 1986

Mothers of the Novel: One Hundred Good Women Writers before Jane Austen 
by Dale Spender.
Pandora, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 86358 081 5
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Scribbling Sisters 
by Dale Spender and Lynne Spender.
Camden Press, 188 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 948491 00 0
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A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs Manley 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 176 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13934 5
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by Fanny Burney.
Virago, 919 pp., £6.95, May 1986, 0 86068 775 9
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Millenium Hall 
by Sarah Scott.
Virago, 207 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86068 780 5
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by Susan Ferrier.
Virago, 513 pp., £4.50, February 1986, 0 86068 765 1
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by Maria Edgeworth.
Pandora, 434 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 074 2
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by Mary Brunton.
Pandora, 437 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 9780863580840
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The Female Quixote: The Adventures of Arabella 
by Charlotte Lennox.
Pandora, 423 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 080 7
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... Fraser ‘Frazer’? Above all, what credence can one attach to a student of the subject who lists Charlotte Charke as ‘Clarke’, thus defacing one of the most interesting names in the entire history – and one finely turned to fictional ends in Maureen Duffy’s The Microcosm (1966)? Many of these errors are repeated several times, as are the misspellings ...

Closets of Knowledge

Frank Kermode: Privacy, 19 June 2003

Privacy: Concealing the 18th-Century Self 
by Patricia Meyer Spacks.
Chicago, 248 pp., £25.50, May 2003, 0 226 76860 0
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... here, but so are a troop of female writers: Jane Austen, here delicately analysed, but also Charlotte Lennox, Sarah Fielding, Frances Burney and others. Dr Johnson remarked that the ‘call for books’ had greatly increased since Milton’s time. ‘To read was not then a general amusement; neither traders, nor often gentlemen thought themselves ...

Preceding Backwardness

Margaret Anne Doody, 9 January 1992

Women’s Lives and the 18th-Century English Novel 
by Elizabeth Bergan Brophy.
University of South Florida Press, 291 pp., $29.95, April 1991, 0 8130 1036 5
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Fictions of Modesty: Women and Courtship in the English Novel 
by Ruth Bernard Yeazell.
Chicago, 306 pp., £19.95, August 1991, 0 226 95096 4
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... restricted to the work of seven novelists: Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Sarah Fielding, Charlotte Lennox, Sarah Scott, Clara Reeve and Frances Burney. (There are occasional references to other writers, such as Jane Austen.) A segment on, for instance, ‘Daughters’ will discuss daughters and the code of daughterliness as represented in the ...

Freaks, Dwarfs and Boors

Thomas Keymer: 18th-Century Jokes, 2 August 2012

Cruelty and Laughter: Forgotten Comic Literature and the Unsentimental 18th Century 
by Simon Dickie.
Chicago, 362 pp., £29, December 2011, 978 0 226 14618 8
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... Comic scenarios about scheming maidservants and bogus chastity were routine in the novels of Charlotte Lennox, who once acted on her feeling that hussies were there to be beaten, and had to defend herself at the Middlesex Sessions. Even Jane Austen said of a neighbour’s late-term miscarriage: ‘I suppose she happened unawares to look at her ...

Andante Capriccioso

Karl Miller, 20 February 1986

The Adventures of Don Quixote de la Mancha 
by Miguel de Cervantes, translated by Tobias Smollett.
Deutsch, 846 pp., £15, January 1986, 0 233 97840 2
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... female Quixote: three years before Smollett’s translation came the extravaganza of that name by Charlotte Lennox – due for reissue by Pandora Books later this year. This looks forward to the romantic dupes, the turned heads, of the turn of the century, to E.S. Barrett’s The Heroine, to the terrors of Northanger. Arabella, ...

Dear Miss Boothby

Margaret Anne Doody, 5 November 1992

The Letters of Samuel Johnson: Vol. I: 1731-1772, Vol. II: 1773-1776, Vol. III: 1777-1781 
edited by Bruce Redford.
Oxford, 431 pp., £25, February 1992, 0 19 811287 4
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... and rational. New letters have been found, including six letters to the novelist and critic Charlotte Lennox. The annotation is the only element likely to stimulate any carping. The editorial intention is evidently to keep notes down, to repress any yeasty overgrowth of annotation. Nevertheless, shortage of notes is sometimes irritating. It would ...

Faint Sounds of Shovelling

John Kerrigan: The History of Tragedy, 20 December 2018

Ladies’ Greek: Victorian Translations of Tragedy 
by Yopie Prins.
Princeton, 297 pp., £24, April 2017, 978 0 691 14189 3
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Greek Tragic Women on Shakespearean Stages 
by Tanya Pollard.
Oxford, 331 pp., £60, September 2017, 978 0 19 879311 3
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Eclipse of Action: Tragedy and Political Economy 
by Richard Halpern.
Chicago, 313 pp., £34, April 2017, 978 0 226 43365 3
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Samson Agonistes: A Redramatisation after Milton 
by John Kinsella.
Arc, 109 pp., £10.99, October 2018, 978 1 911469 55 1
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... she cuts out a dimension of her story. A fuller account would begin with the neoclassicism of Charlotte Lennox, the novelist and Shakespeare critic who in 1759 translated Pierre Brumoy’s book of versions and commentaries, The Greek Theatre. Or even with Nicholas Udall, who wrote in 1548 of ‘young virgins so nouzled and trained in the studie of ...

Short Cuts

Joanna Biggs: ‘Little Women’ Redux, 2 January 2020

... and even expected. It would be ridiculous to imagine that children will stay sullen like Mary Lennox or angry like Jo March, and these books don’t: they gather up girls and lay out their characters and eventual fates as possibilities for the young, and not so young, reader. I sometimes think of pretty Meg, spirited Jo, saintly Beth and giddy Amy as ...

A Town Called Mørk

Adam Mars-Jones: Per Petterson, 6 November 2014

I Refuse 
by Per Petterson, translated by Don Bartlett.
Harvill Secker, 282 pp., £16.99, October 2014, 978 1 84655 781 1
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... lay burning in my hands inside the cool, darkened hospital room’) and a shop assistant quoting Charlotte Brontë (though omitting the question marks). ‘She straightened her back, raised her finger and said: “Do you think I am an automaton, a machine without feelings, do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and ...


A.N. Wilson, 21 October 1993

Love from Nancy: The Letters of Nancy Mitford 
edited by Charlotte Mosley.
Hodder, 538 pp., £20, September 1993, 0 340 53784 1
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... of Nancy Mitford’s humour is its preparedness to be cruel. The account in this volume of Alan Lennox-Boyd swelling to twice his normal size because a doctor had mistakenly injected him with elephantiasis would, indeed, make you scream. Here is an other letter which exemplifies her humour: Darling I must describe a visit to the Joneses – the angelic ...

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