• Publication Date: October 25, 2004
  • ISBN: 9781551114583 / 1551114585
  • 603 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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  • Publication Date: October 25, 2004
  • ISBN: 9781551114583 / 1551114585
  • 603 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Published here for the first time in a modern edition, Charlotte Smith’s third novel is both rivetingly plotted and unique for its time in its powerful depiction of a gifted Romantic woman poet. The novel’s heroine, Celestina, abandoned as a child in a French convent, becomes an independent, witty, and accomplished elegiac poet who, in a reversal of the usual pattern of the courtship novel, acts as a mentor to several men in her life. Written at the beginning of the French Revolution, Smith’s novel depicts characters challenging both corrupt authority and conventional morality, exemplifying her hope that English society was on the verge of a great change for the better.

This Broadview edition includes a critical introduction and primary source material relating to the novel’s reception, its political contexts (writings by Reverend Richard Price, Edmund Burke, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Thomas Paine), and the author’s life.


“The publication of Charlotte Smith’s Celestina, expertly edited by Loraine Fletcher, marks an important addition to the library of those of us interested in Romantic women writers, the sentimental novel, or the eighteenth-century novel. The appendices provide materials that allow readers to assess the reception and influence of the novel, the political context, and Smith’s biography. With an astute and wide-ranging introduction that helpfully places the novel in the political, literary, and cultural contexts of its day, this volume is an extremely valuable addition to the impressive and growing list offered by Broadview Press.” — Diane Long Hoeveler, Marquette University

Charlotte Smith: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text


Appendix A: The Reception and Influence of Celestina

  1. Mary Wollstonecraft, The Analytical Review (August 1791)
  2. Anon., The European Magazine and London Review (October 1791)
  3. Anon., The Critical Review (November 1791)
  4. From Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794)
  5. From Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility (1811)

Appendix B: The Political Context

  1. Reverend Richard Price, “A Discourse on the Love of Our Country” (November 1789)
  2. From Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (November 1790)
  3. From Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Men (December 1790)
  4. From Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man (February 1791)
  5. Joseph Antoine Cerruti, Feuille Villageoise (January 1791)

Appendix C: Charlotte Smith’s Life

  1. Charlotte Smith to Dr Joseph Warton, 31 August 1791
  2. Charlotte Smith to Mrs Thomas Lowes, 27 November 1791
  3. Catherine (Turner) Dorset, “Charlotte Smith” from Walter Scott’s Lives of the Novelists (1821)

Select Bibliography

Loraine Fletcher is Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Reading. She is the author of Charlotte Smith: A Critical Biography (Macmillan, 1998) and the editor of Charlotte Smith’s Emmeline (Broadview Press, 2003).