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Editorial Reviews. Review. 'Contextualizing Smith as a writer in various genres - poetry, novels, Charlotte Smith in British Romanticism (The Enlightenment World) 1st Edition, Kindle Edition. by Jacqueline Labbe (Editor).
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Charlotte Smith in British Romanticism - Google книги

Penny Bradshaw studied in Lancaster both as an undergraduate and as a postgraduate. Her PhD explored the newly recovered work of two female Romantic poets: Anna Barbauld and Charlotte Smith, and Penny continues to work and publish primarily within the field of British Romanticism. Penny worked briefly at Lancaster University before taking up her present post at the University of Cumbria and has been Programme Leader for the English Literature programme since Penny is also an Editorial Board Member for Romanticism: Life, Literature and Landscape - a digital resource which allows scholars of Romanticism unique access to the digitised manuscript collections of the Wordsworth Trust, including the working notebooks, verse manuscripts and correspondence of Wordsworth and his circle.

She has developed a final year module which grows out of her research on British Romanticism and the Lake District and a second year module which looks at the wider relevance of English studies within the world of work and especially within the regional cultural heritage industry.

In addition Penny teaches on a module which considers how literary tourism has shaped our perceptions of Cumbria and which explores the contemporary regional cultural heriage industry. This calm world of natural beauty she describes inhabits the same physical space as the beginning of the poem, but not the same time.

The Romantic sublime

The victims of the Revolution are presumably cut off from nature by their preoccupation with the threat of violence and the actual destruction of their natural surroundings, but for Smith, safe in the unscathed south of England, this alienation from nature must have a different source. While these emotional responses are seen as admirable in readers of Sensibility, Smith expresses a desire to escape from having to emotionally respond to suffering she does not witness, suggesting that a connection with nature can prevent her from being subjected to the scenes which necessitate these responses.

However, now that she is aware of the woes of the French people, not even nature can allow her to escape these feelings.

Her tendency to describe the natural world as more important than civilization shows that she still somewhat aligns with Enlightenment thinkers, even if the revolution is making her question this alignment. She exemplifies this tendency with a French emigrant sitting by the shore with her children. Smith continues to emulate Rousseau by criticizing the way in which the artificial supersedes nature for the French woman, but here, she also begins to anticipate the emerging movement of Romanticism.

Smith, despite her safety in England, experiences the same alienation from nature as the French woman due to the Revolution. She is still cut off from nature by Sensibility, by her emotional responses to the suffering she imagines in France. While Smith does not use these terms herself, the language of Romanticism is easy to read in her poem. Smith leaves behind Enlightenment thought and moves toward the Romantic movement in the second part of her poem.

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Book II takes place the following April, meant to be a time of beauty and rebirth. However, just as the ocean has become a mirror for suffering in Book I, the spring becomes little more than a reminder that the situation has only grown worse with the passing of time in Book II. In another unseasonal description, the trees have not yet regrown their leaves, and therefore offer no shelter, either literal shelter from the elements or the spiritual shelter she seeks from the Sensibility to which she is continuously subjected.


  1. Empiricism and Darwin’s Science;
  2. The Enlightenment World Series;
  3. Sensibility and Alienation in Charlotte Smith’s “The Emigrants”.

Even the bird she mentions becomes started in her presence, exposed by the leafless trees. Here, she clearly diverges from the Enlightenment philosophy she previously aligned with and helps pave the way for Romanticism; she has no desire to rationally understand or categorize nature. Near the end of the poem, her condemnations of the literature of Sensibility become more explicit.

But though she is safe and her natural surroundings remain intact, she is cut off from them and cannot find the joy she once could. She is alienated from nature all the same, and can think of no way to regain her lost connection. This is a problem which later writers of Romanticism endeavor to fix.

Dr Claire Knowles

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. Stephen Greenblatt. Smith, Charlotte Turner. Charlotte Payne. Davis: University of California, Davis, Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student. Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website. We will occasionally send you account related emails. Want us to write one just for you?


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