Tabitha Gilman Tenney

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Illustration from Tenney's Female Quixotism (Boston: J.P. Peaslee, 1825)

Tabitha Gilman Tenney (1762–1837) was an early American author from Exeter, New Hampshire. Her novel Female Quixotism, Exhibited in the Romantic Opinions and Extravagant Adventures of Dorcasina Sheldon, which followed Cervantes in attacking the delusions encouraged by romantic literature, was first published in two volumes in 1801.[1][2][3]

Literary historian F. L. Patee has described Female Quixotism (1801) as the most popular novel written in America prior to the publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin in 1852. Female Quixotism went through at least five editions and was still in print when Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote her landmark book.

In 1788 she married Samuel Tenney, a former army surgeon. He was elected to Congress in 1788.[1] They had no children.

Upon her 1837 death in Exeter, she was buried at the Winter Street Burial Ground.[4]

Further reading[edit]

By Tenney[edit]

  • New Pleasing Instructor
  • Tabitha Tenney. Female quixotism: exhibited in the romantic opinions and extravagant adventures of Dorcasina Sheldon.
    • Boston: Printed by I. Thomas and E.T. Andrews, 1801.
    • Boston: J. P. Peaslee, 1825. Google books v.1

About Tenney[edit]

  • "Tabitha Tenney" in: Evert Augustus Duyckinck, George Long Duyckinck. Cyclopaedia of American Literature. NY: C. Scribner, 1856. Google books
  • R. W. G. Vail, ed. (1933–34). "Tenney". Bibliotheca Americana 24. New York. OCLC 13972268. 
  • Cynthia J. Miecznikowski. The Parodic Mode and the Patriarchal Imperative: Reading the Female Reader(s) in Tabitha Tenney's "Female Quixotism". Early American Literature, Vol. 25, No. 1 (1990), pp. 34–45
  • Linda Frost. The Body Politic in Tabitha Tenney's "Female Quixotism". Early American Literature, Vol. 32, No. 2 (1997), pp. 113–134

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cyclopaedia of American literature 1. New York: C. Scribner. 1856. p. 504. 
  2. ^ "List of American Authors." The American almanac and repository of useful knowledge. Boston: 1840. Google books
  3. ^ Allibone. A critical dictionary of English literature, and British and American authors, living and deceased, from the earliest accounts to the middle of the nineteenth century. Trübner & co., 1871
  4. ^ Tabitha "Tabby" Gilman Tenney. accessed 2010.07.10