• Publication Date: February 14, 2008
  • ISBN: 9781551116419 / 1551116413
  • 270 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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  • Publication Date: February 14, 2008
  • ISBN: 9781551116419 / 1551116413
  • 270 pages; 5½" x 8½"

The first novel to be written for serial publication by a major female author, Sophia follows the story of two siblings, the virtuous and well-read eponymous heroine and her flighty and coquettish sister. While the latter leads a vapid life in the fashionable world of London, the former flees from a potential seducer to the country, where she pursues true friendship, learning, and an independent living. Previously out of print, the novel explores such issues as the place of female education, the opposition of city and country, the emergence of the literary marketplace, and the development of the individual.

This Broadview edition reproduces images from the novel’s original serial publication and also includes other articles from Lennox’s periodical The Lady’s Museum, contemporary reviews of Sophia, and writings on sentimentalism.


“Norbert Schürer’s introduction provides the literary and cultural contexts for this wrongfully neglected novel of a major English novelist. He explains why Lennox was ‘the most important female writer in Britain around the middle of the eighteenth century’ and describes the innovations Sophia introduced both in its content and its format; it was one of the first novels to be published in serial installments in a magazine. This scrupulously edited volume is a treasure trove of information about Lennox’s life, the contemporary publishing world, and pervasive aspects of English culture such as titles, money, and transportation. It is a lively and authoritative contribution to our knowledge of the eighteenth-century British novel.” — Ruth Perry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“While placing Lennox in a patriarchal literary marketplace dominated by Richardson, Fielding, and Dr. Johnson, Schürer provocatively reads this ‘two sisters novel’ both with and against the grain, to argue that Lennox both affirms and subverts Sophia's moral example and the novel’s conservative didacticism. Strengths of this edition include the reproduction and discussion of eighteenth-century illustrations of scenes from the novel, and the reprinting of otherwise hard to find contemporary biographies of ‘the celebrated’ Charlotte Lennox.” — Eve Tavor Bannet, University of Oklahoma



Charlotte Lennox: A Brief Chronology

A Note on the Text

  • A Note on Female Property and Education
    A Note on Rank and Titles
    A Note on the Clergy
    A Note on British Currency
    A Note on Transportation


Appendix A: Textual Variants

Appendix B: Lennox’s Life

  1. “Mrs. Lennox,” The British Magazine and Review (July 1783)
  2. Obituary, The Gentleman’s Magazine (January 1804)
  3. Obituary, The European Magazine (February 1804)
  4. “Memoir of Mrs. Lennox,” The Lady’s Monthly Museum (June 1813)

Appendix C: Reviews of Sophia

  1. The Critical Review (May 1762)
  2. The Library (May 1762)
  3. The British Magazine (June 1762)
  4. The Gentleman’s Magazine (June 1762)
  5. The Monthly Review (July 1762)
  6. Books printed by and for James Hoey, junior (advertisement from 1763)

Appendix D: Selections from The Lady’s Museum

  1. The Lady’s Museum (March 1760)
  2. “Philosophy for the Ladies,” The Lady’s Museum (April 1760)
  3. “To the Author of the Lady’s Museum,” The Lady’s Museum (May 1760)
  4. “Of the Importance of the Education of Daughters,” The Lady’s Museum (June 1760)

Appendix E: Sentimentalism and Moral Philosophy

  1. From Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times (1711)
  2. From David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739–40)
  3. From Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759)
  4. From Henry Mackenzie, The Lounger (1785)
  5. From Mary Alcock, Poems (1799)

Select Bibliography and Works Cited

Norbert Schürer is Assistant Professor of English at California State University, Long Beach.