Charlotte Smith: The Major Poetic Works
  • Publication Date: June 15, 2017
  • ISBN: 9781554812844 / 1554812844
  • 275 pages; 5½" x 8½"
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Charlotte Smith: The Major Poetic Works

  • Publication Date: June 15, 2017
  • ISBN: 9781554812844 / 1554812844
  • 275 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Immensely popular with contemporary readers, Smith’s major poetic works are foundational poetic texts of the Romantic period. Smith’s innovations in poetic form have also placed her at the forefront of twenty-first century scholarship on the period. This edition presents her three major poetic works — Elegiac Sonnets (1784-1800), The Emigrants (1793), and Beachy Head (1807). They also remain major texts for thinking through such questions as the relationship between public and private; the ethical treatment of refugees and other persecuted people; the position of women in a patriarchal society; and the usefulness of science as a way of making sense of a complex and ever-changing world.

This Broadview edition includes a new critical introduction which takes into account the developments in scholarship on Smith’s work and women’s writing over the past three decades, and it provides readers with a wealth of contextual material for understanding the writer and the social and literary environment within which she wrote, including key works by her precursors and contemporaries, selections from her letters, and reviews of her poetry.


“In their introduction to this invaluable edition, Claire Knowles and Ingrid Horrocks make a strong case for the vital importance of Charlotte Smith’s poetry to both the literary and the socio-political history of the Romantic era. They also show her to be a cosmopolitan poet whose internationalist perspectives and sympathies resonate today. Smith scholars will welcome the comprehensive bibliography as well as the breakdown of the nine Elegiac Sonnets editions that clarifies the publication history of this evolving work. The judiciously chosen appendices reveal Smith as a lodestone of late eighteenth-century British culture — a writer who revived the English sonnet, mastered blank verse, earned the respect of reviewers, and inspired countless fellow poets to honor her in verse.” —Kari Lokke, University of California, Davis

    List of Illustrations
    List of Abbreviations
    Charlotte Smith: A Brief Chronology
    A Note on the Texts

    Elegiac Sonnets (1784-1800)

    The Emigrants (1793)

    Beachy Head (1807)

    Selected Additional Poems:

    • From Elegiac Sonnets Volume I
    • From Elegiac Sonnets Volume II
    • From Beachy Head (1807)
    • From The Miscellaneous Prose Works of Sir Walter Scott, Bart: Biographical Memoirs (1829)

    Appendix A: Key Precursors and Contemporaries

    1. Thomas Gray, “Sonnet on the Death of Mr Richard West” (1775)
    2. From William Cowper, The Task (1785)
    3. William Bowles, “Sonnet IX. To the River Itchin, near Winton,” (1789)
    4. Jane West, “On the Sonnets of Mrs. Charlotte Smith,” from Miscellaneous Poems, and a Tragedy (1791)
    5. From [Frances Burney,] “Brief Reflections Relative to the Emigrant French Clergy” (1793)
    6. Mary Robinson, “Sonnet XLIII,” Sappho and Phaon (1796)
    7. From William Wordsworth, The Prelude (1798-99)
    8. Anne Bannerman, “Sonnet VII,” from Poems of Anne Bannerman (1800)
    9. From Erasmus Darwin, The Temple of Nature; or, the Origin of Society (1803)
    10. John Keats, “Sonnet VII: When I have fears that I may cease to be,” (1848)

    Appendix B: Contemporary Writing on Smith and the Sonnet

    1. John Thelwell, “An Essay on the ENGLISH SONNET” (1792)
    2. From Mary Robinson, “Preface” to Sappho and Phaon (1796)
    3. From Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Introduction to the Sonnets,” Poems (1797)

    Appendix C: Selections from Smith’s Letters Related to Her Poetry

    1. Charlotte Smith to William Davies (25 April 1797)
    2. Charlotte Smith to Joel Barlow (3 November 1792)
    3. Charlotte Smith to Joseph Johnson (12 July 1806)

    Appendix D: Selected Reviews of Smith’s Major Poems

    Elegiac Sonnets

    1. From the Monthly Review (November 1784)
    2. From the Gentleman’s Magazine (April 1786) The Emigrants
    3. From the European Magazine (July 1793)
    4. From the Monthly Review, or Literary Journal (December 1793) Beachy Head
    5. From British Critic (August 1807)

    Appendix E: Poetry about Smith Appearing in Newspapers and Magazines

    1. Anonymous, “Sonnet to Mrs. Smith” European Magazine (August 1786)
    2. D., “SONNET to Mrs. Smith, on reading her Sonnets lately published,” European Magazine (August 1786)
    3. Pastor Fido, “On passing the RETREAT of CHARLOTTE SMITH near Chichester, in Sussex,” World (7 August 1788)
    4. “Ticklepitcher,” “Ode to Charlotte Smith,” Morning Post (16 December 1789)
    5. “Oberon” [Mary Robinson], “Sonnet to Mrs. Charlotte Smith, on Hearing That Her Son Was Wounded at the Siege of Dunkirk,” Oracle (17 September 1793)

    Appendix F: Tables of Contents for the Volumes of Elegiac Sonnets Published During Smith’s Lifetime

    Works Cited and Further Reading

Claire Knowles is a Lecturer in English at La Trobe University.

Ingrid Horrocks is a Senior Lecturer in English at Massey University.