In a critique of Mrs. Elizabeth Norman's The child of Woe: A Novel (1789), the Analytical Review (February 1789) remarked that having no other virtues to recommend it, the book could only be tensed truly feminine novel," the vast majority of which were "so near akin to each other, that with a few alterations, the same review would serve for almost all of them" The Analytical Review's dismissal of novels by women has all too often been reflected in the literary histories of English fiction where it has been popular to view the rise of the novel as the exclusive history of "the five greats" (Richardson, Fielding, Smollett, and Sterne) and to ignore or at best to minimize the contributions eighteenth-century women novelists. Serious readers of eighteenth-century fiction have finally come to admonish, however, that the novel did not spring fully formed from the mind of Richardson, but was the child of many parents and the outgrowth of narrative techniques and fictional conventions first developed by writers' popular fiction, many of them women. In short, literary historians and critics have begun to give eighteenth-century women novelists their due, a process of reassessment that owes much to the rise women's studies and a parallel growth in critical interest in eighteenth-century fiction in general. Today's critical focus on the "feminine novel" as a category suggests that in one sense the Analytical Review was right: women novelists of the eighteenth century were "akin to each other," sharing common interests, common themes, common techniques, and as women of the eighteenth century, a common technique, and as women of the eighteenth century, a common fate. But the Analytical Review was also quite mistaken, for if, as popular writers, eighteenth-century women produced a large body of eminently forgettable (if not unreadable) works, then many modem readers of the new paperback editions of these women's novels remind us that eighteenth-century women novelists also created an abundance of works marked by their quality and originality, as well as their historical interest. Moreover, the sheer variety of modem critical responses to the "feminine novel" and the liveliness of the critical debate surrounding them prove beyond question that never again will the same review "serve for almost all of them". Of course, as if all areas of literary study, much has been written that was perhaps better left unsaid, some scholarship seem superfluous, some merely dull. But the general critical controversy is a healthy sign, indicating that eighteenth-century women writers are finally being judged as international artists worthy of such consideration. What seems clearest of all is that the rediscovery of the eighteenth-century women novelists has resulted in the skillful mapping of a kind of new literary territory that, although not entirely unknown, had until recently been infrequently visited and remained largely unexplored.