Rediscovering Charlotte Lennox

Min Wild at the TLS:

Susan Carlile explains with good judgement in her introduction why it is time for a new, full, critical biography of Charlotte Lennox, who, along with Eliza Haywood in particular, acts as a linking presence between the Aphra Behn-inflected, rackety experiments of Delariviere Manley, in the early eighteenth century, and the more solidly respectable achievements of Austen and Frances Burney. This biography, “the first to consider Lennox’s entire oeuvre and all her extant correspondence”, gives the fullest account of her life yet (following pioneering work by Miriam Small, Gustavus Maynardier and Philippe Séjourné), 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 that is both good to see and a little perplexing in tenor: Lennox is simultaneously “representative and exceptional, innovative and illus­trative”. Lennox did have an “independent mind”, in whatever degree this was possible as one negotiated the path to Grub Street solvency, and Carlile was right to make this the book’s subtitle and leitmotif, rather than giving Lennox the “dangerous” or “powerful” mind she initially considered.

more here.