Added: October 11, 2014 – Last updated: June 27, 2015


Author: Robin Runia

Title: ‘What Do You Take Me For?’

Subtitle: Rape and Virtue in The Female Quixote

In: Interpreting Sexual Violence, 1660-1800

Edited by: Anne Greenfield

Place: London

Publisher: Pickering & Chatto

Year: 2013

Pages: 107-117 and 196-199

Series: The Body, Gender and Culture 14

ISBN-13: 9781848934399 (hbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 18th Century | English History Representations: Literature / Charlotte Lennox


Link: EBSCOhost (Restricted Access)

Link: University Publishing Online (Restricted Access)


Author: Robin Runia, English Department, Xavier University of LouisianaAuthor's Website

Abstract: »Robin Runia opens this section with her essay, '"What Do You Take Me For?": Rape and Virtue in The Female Quixote', which deals with the complex agency and culpability of heroines threatened with rape and seduction. While Charlotte Lennox mocks her heroine, Arabella, both for imagining too easily that the men around her are rapists and for failing to perceive real sexual dangers when she encounters them, she also grapples with serious questions about how and whether women can protect themselves against rape. As Runia argues, Arabella's position on this matter evolves throughout the novel: her initial assumption that a woman may preserve her virtue by having a highly developed intellect, transforms into the view that female virtue, generally, should be measured not by chastity but by piety. This transformation in Arabella'a thinking reflects a wider (if incipient) willingness, during this era, to question blame-the-victim attitudes.« (Source: Anne Greenfield. »Introduction.« Interpreting Sexual Violence, 1660-1800. Edited by Anne Greenfield. London 2013: 9-10)

Wikipedia: Charlotte Lennox: The Female Quixote