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Charlotte Smith: Romanticism, poetry and the culture of gender

Author: Jaqueline Labbe

Publisher: Manchester University Press

ISBN:0-7190-6004-4

Charlotte Smith: Romanticism, poetry and the culture of gender argues that we need to engage more directly with historical ideas of gender. Offering a thorough and comprehensive reading of Charlotte Smith's poetry, Labbe demonstrates that Smith is both more canny about the attractions of gender than has previously been recognised, and more experimental in her deployments of gendered subjectivities. In this way she is a key player in the formation of Romanticism as a style and as an approach. Covering all Smith's major poetry (Elegiac Sonnets, The Emigrants and Beachy Head), as well as the prose apparatus to the poetry (prefaces, dedications and footnotes), this book reads Smith's work in light of her self-representations as a poet, mother and social critic, and uncovers a hitherto unexamined coherence in both content and style. Smith is shown to be both an innovator and a significant figure in understanding Romantic conceptions of gender. As the first book devoted to a serious critical study of Smith's poetry, Charlotte Smith: Romanticism, poetry and the culture of gender will appeal to professional scholars and students alike.

Jacqueline M. Labbe is Reader in Nineteenth-Century at the University of Warwick