Friday, December 23, 2011

30. The Female Quixote

The Female Quixote
Charlotte Lennox

This is a really light and comedic read.  I will try not to compare it to Don Quixote too much because even though the books are similar, comparing any novel to Don Quixote just sets it up for failure.

This novel is about Arabella, a beautiful rustic who believes that romance novels are fact.  She fakes swoons, believes that it is a grave crime to tell someone you love them without first attempting suicide, and dresses in retro fashion.  The secondary characters, however, are what really makes the novel shine.  Mr. Glanville is in love with Arabella and is often mortified when she goes on ridiculous tangents.  Sir George, a friend of Glanville's, realizes that Arabella is a little bit insane and plays that part of the chivalrous knight, presumably to get in bed with her.

I was surprised that this novel was so hilarious.  Up until now on the list, the books by women have been mediocre and only placed on this list because they were written by females.  I particularly liked this novel because I had read a couple of Greek romances for the purpose of the 1001 journey (see Chaireas and Kallirhoe) so I was able to understand what they were making fun of.  Highly recommended.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

This novel was used as a model for Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey.

Henry Fielding and Samuel Richardson both "approved" the novel.

This novel was a comment on the power women held over men.

1 comment:

  1. I am on the same page as you here. This was surprisingly hilarious and the story has aged very well. I can vividly imagine modern versions of this story featuring girls who have been watching too many soaps and their exasperated boyfriends.

    I am not certain this was a comment on the power women has over men. On the contrary, I saw it as a protest that women has to be conformed to being Stepford wives in order to be acceptable.