Those interested in eighteenth-century women’s fiction who turn to the secondary sources for the first time will probably be struck by the way in which (with conspicuous exceptions) these novelists have been squeezed into the margins and corners of our literary heritage. Although this emphasis is changing as recent studies have undertaken to bring more women writers to the fore, in the past, large tracts have been devoted to a relatively few male writers from this period and the principal guides have normally taken us from one monumental critical construction to another. Thus, the casual traveller en route between Defoe, Fielding, Richardson, Sterne, and Smollett could be forgiven for unwittingly bypassing their female contemporaries.