This article argues that Charlotte Lennox innovates with nonstandard narrative techniques to conjure up lively new discursive communities. In her most famous work, The Female Quixote (1752), Lennox experiments with the formal feature of chapter titles, whose insouciant, disembodied voice emerges as the text's most distinct and powerful narrative force. This voice presents itself as corrective and collective, demonstrating the benefits of a community and redefining the authority of the author. In her less well-known periodical, The Lady's Museum (1760-61), Lennox introduces an eidolon, “The Trifler,” whose lively voice recalls The Female Quixote's chapter titles. As the periodical continues, the Trifler's individual voice gives way to an even livelier assortment of voices, which debate the Trifler's right to her “title”. In both works, Lennox explores the tension between instruction and delight. Her writing offers far more than a straightforward, laudable project of female education, as she imagines pleasing discursive communities in which meaning in general, and “titles” in particular, are debated, challenged, and in flux.
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S. Cailey Hall; “All the Bright Eyes of the Kingdom”: Charlotte Lennox's Discursive Communities. Eighteenth-Century Life 1 April 2017; 41 (2): 89–104. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00982601-3841396
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