Charlotte Lennox: An Independent Mind
Charlotte Lennox (c.1729-1804) was an eighteenth-century London author whose most celebrated novel, The Female Quixote (1752), is just one of eighteen works published over forty-three years. Her stories of independent women influenced Jane Austen, especially in her novels Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility.
Susan Carlile’s biography places Lennox in the context of intellectual and cultural history and focuses on her role as a central figure in the professionalization of authorship in England. Lennox participated in the most important literary and social discussions of her time, including debates concerning female authorship, the elevation of Shakespeare to national poet, and the role of periodicals as didactic texts for an increasingly literate population. Lennox also contributed to making Greek drama available for English-language audiences and pioneered the serialization of novels in magazines. Carlile’s work is the first biographical treatment to consider a new cache of correspondence released in the 1970s and reveals how Lennox was part of an ambitious and progressive literary and social movement.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 528 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.7in x 9.0in
"This biography…gives the fullest account of [Charlotte Lennox’s] life yet…and conducts readers through all of her major works. It arrives as a handsome, substantial volume, complete with full scholarly apparatus and a proselytizing zeal of application…It is undoubtedly a good thing that we have a new biography of Charlotte Lennox, and this is an industrious and likeable contender."
Times Literary Supplement, August 15, 2018
"This much-anticipated critical biography of the accomplished yet elusive eighteenth-century author Charlotte Lennox is well worth the wait."
Betty A. Schellenberg, Simon Fraser University
"There hasn’t been a new biography of Charlotte Lennox since 1967. Susan Carlile’s substantive, scrupulously researched Charlotte Lennox: An Independent Mind makes up for lost time."
Studies in English Literature 1500-1900
"The wide range of Lennox’s writing requires Carlile to become an expert on an extraordinary variety of topics, from Sir Joshua Reynolds’s commission prices, to the political machinations between the Duke of Newcastle and the Duke of Bute in the early 1760s, to the 1774 copyright decision Donaldson v. Becket, to the biography of the Duchesse de La Vallière (a mistress of Louis XIV whose memoirs Lennox translated). This breadth of knowledge both fills in Lennox’s world and shows why Carlile considers her such a significant writer: one whose life and works illuminate many of the key topics of eighteenth-century studies. Charlotte Lennox will be an indispensable and unavoidable resource for any future research on this at once unique and representative figure."
Rachael Scarborough King, University of California, Santa Barbara,
Early Modern Women, Spring 2020
"Carlile gives a vivid picture of the London literary world during the mid to late eighteenth century. She notes that in an era that has been christened ‘The Age of the Emerging Female Author’, Lennox’s professional life bears witness to the greater visibility and acceptance of women writers, as well as to the shift from literary patronage to the growing power of the bookseller, the development of the novel as an important genre, the interrelationships between British and Continental as well as American literatures, and the reassessment of Shakespeare’s works."
Susan Kubica Howard, Duquesne University
"Susan Carlile’s Charlotte Lennox: An Independent Mind describes in vivid detail a skeptical, ambitious, and spiky eighteenth-century woman of genius. Carlile provides a fascinating, original account of Lennox, who grew up in America, found herself alone as a teen in England, married a ne’er-do-well, and raised challenging children, all the while living, writing, and publishing in near poverty. This is the literary biography of the pioneering author of The Female Quixote that many of us have longed for."
Devoney Looser, Department of English, Arizona State University
"Susan Carlile has proven herself to be the world’s foremost living expert on Charlotte Lennox. Charlotte Lennox: An Independent Mind represents a watershed moment in Lennox studies and in studies of the eighteenth-century culture more broadly. Drastically reshaping the dominant understanding of just what kind of writer Lennox actually was, Carlile highlights Lennox’s translations and critical work, moving them to the center of Lennox’s story."
Manushag Powell, Department of English, Purdue University
"Charlotte Lennox: An Independent Mind is a valuable autobiography of a major figure, and brings together fascinating new material to construct a new view of professional authorship in the mid- and late eighteenth century, all from the unusual angle of the female writer."
Isobel Grundy, Department of English, University of Alberta
Author InformationSusan Carlile is a professor in the Department of English at California State University, Long Beach. She has published on the literary marketplace of the 1750s and on the works of numerous English authors in the long eighteenth-century.
Table of contents
List of Illustrations
1. New World Thinking
2. An English Sappho
3. Making a Trade of Her Wit
4. Uniting the Laudable Affections of the Mind
5. Debating “Genius”
6. Prospering in a Patronizing Profession
7. “The Same Darling End…By Different Means”
8. Recasting a Career
9. “The Law of Custom”…or of “Fools”?
10. “Work Upon That Now!”
11. Friendship, Marriage, and Motherhood
12. “A Pen that Conferred Immortality”
Publications, Editions, and Reprints
Subjects and Courses