New Article: The Politics of Genre and Gender in Tabitha Gilman Tenney’s Female Quixotism

Dragoş Ivana

Published Online: 2017-12-22 | DOI:


The present article focuses on transatlantic female quixotism, as enacted by Tabitha Tenney’s heroine, Dorcasina Sheldon. I argue that quixotism can be read as an interface between the events of the story and the Federalist conservative discourse that underlies them. In doing so, I claim that, in terms of gender, the heroine’s misreading of romances transforms her into a political tool whereby the ideals of female freedom and agency, social mobility, gender equality, racial equity and abolitionism-effective under Thomas Jefferson’s administration-are satirically depicted and seen as delusory in post-Revolutionary America. In terms of generic categories, I will show how Female Quixotism blurs the epistemological boundaries between truth and fiction by juxtaposing novel and romance, used interchangeably, with history.

Keywords: early American novelromancethe female quixotemisreadingFederalism

Featured Image Credits: Illustration from Tenney’s Female Quixotism (Boston: J.P. Peaslee, 1825) |  © Courtesy of  Wikipedia.

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