Charlotte Smith (1749-1806) was the author of ten novels, a play, and a host of innovative educational books for children, as well as several volumes of poetry that helped set priorities and determine the tastes of the culture of early Romanticism. Her Elegiac Sonnets sparked the sonnet revival in English Romanticism; The Emigrants initiated its passion for lengthy meditative introspection; and Beachy Head lent its poetic engagement with nature a uniquely telling immediacy. Smith was a woman, Wordsworth remarked a quarter century after her death, "to whom English verse is under greater obligations than are likely to be either acknowledged or remembered." True to his prediction, Smith's poetry has virtually dropped from sight and thus from cultural consciousness. This, the first edition of Smith's collected poems, will restore to all students of English poetry a distinctive, compelling voice. Likewise, the recovery of Smith to her rightful place among the Romantic poets must spur the reassessment of the place of women writers within that culture.
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Stuart Curran is at University of Pennsylvania.Review:
"Excellent notes--long-overdue work--beautifully designed."--Nicholas Jones, Oberlin College
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