Crypto- Judaism, Madness and the Female Quixote. Charlotte Lennox as Marrana in Mid-Eighteenth Century England

Author: Simms, Norman
Year:2004
Pages:382
ISBN:0-7734-6499-9
978-0-7734-6499-5
Price:239.95

Reviews

“In this study Norman Simms undertakes the arduous task of analyzing the innermost twists and turns of the mind of Charlotte Lennox (ca. 1720/30 – 1804), née Ramsay, as she portrays them in her works and her fictitious personae, particularly Arabella, the main character of The Female Quixote, or the Adventures of Arabella (1752). Through a well planned and extremely well presented exegesis – supported by first-hand historical documentation, as well as internal evidence from the author’s writings – intertwined with an equally well organized heuristic methodology, spanning from Psychology, Psychiatry, Religion and Philosophy to historical events of fifteenth-century Europe, Norman Simms offers the only full-length study of Charlotte Lennox’s true intentions when it came to express on paper her covert feelings regarding women and the “oppressed” in eighteenth-century England and her possessions overseas, the latter category embracing Jews, Conversos, and the “confused” as in the case of those whose mind appears to have left them, temporarily or not.” - Joseph Abraham Levi, Rhode Island College

“There is no doubt that Norman Simms gauges very well indeed the perils of his enterprise: no critic so far has ever hinted at a Marrano background to The Female Quixote whose traditional slot in history of the English novel links it to the sentimental fiction prevalent when it was published (1752). ... It is therefore highly to Simms’ credit that he should, in a most circumspect and intellectually honest manner, insist on his underlying ambition – which is first and foremost to open up new vistas in our appreciation of Augustan literature at a time when mentalities were beginning to take in the existence of as yet unsuspected spheres of human experience.” - Serge Soupel

"This is an original and erudite study that embraces several academic disciplines - literary criticism, history, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, psychiatry, and Jewish studies for which few scholars area as well equipped as Simms. ... He advances a theory that illuminates a hitherto unconsidered approach and which is worthy of further investigation." - Mentalities

Table of Contents

Preface; Introduction
1. Two Backgrounds and a Hazy Foreground
2. A Disconcerting Overview
3. Aesthetics, Ethics and Arabella’s Mental Illness
4. The Double Assault on Arabella’s Integrity: Delusion and Reason
5. Madness or Marranism: Masking, Secrecy and Illusion
6. Changing Depictions of Mental Illness: 17th and 18th Century
7. Arabella at the Inquisition
8. Hiding from the Inquisition
9. An Inconclusive Conclusion
Bibliography; Index