The Old Manor House
  • Publication Date: September 19, 2002
  • ISBN: 9781551112138 / 1551112132
  • 587 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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The Old Manor House

  • Publication Date: September 19, 2002
  • ISBN: 9781551112138 / 1551112132
  • 587 pages; 5½" x 8½"

In The Old Manor House (1794), Charlotte Smith combines elements of the romance, the Gothic, recent history, and culture to produce both a social document and a compelling novel. A “property romance,” the love story of Orlando and Monimia revolves around the Manor House as inheritable property. In situating their romance as dependent on the whims of property owners, Smith critiques a society in love with money at the expense of its most vulnerable members, the dispossessed.

Appendices in this edition include: contemporary responses; writings on the genre debate by Anna Letitia Barbauld, John Moore, and Walter Scott; and historical documents focusing on property laws as well as the American and French revolutions.


“Labbe’s celebratory introduction to The Old Manor House emphasizes Charlotte Smith’s literary modernity; the notes and appendices amplify Smith’s references to property law, revolutionary politics, and warfare. By implication, Smith’s novel is revealed as an extension of—rather than a mere reflection of—the contemporaneous debates that are so well represented in the scholarly apparatus. This is another excellent Broadview edition.” — Angela Keane, University of Sheffield

“Masquerading as a romance set in the 1770s, The Old Manor House satirizes characters who invoke feudal codes to mark the despotic authority of property over those who lack it but can imagine no other mode of genteel existence. Jacqueline Labbe’s new edition creates a valuable array of supplementary documents for reading the subtle politics of this novel and its negotiations with the terms of fictional romance.” — Theresa M. Kelley, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Charlotte Turner Smith: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

The Old Manor House

Appendix A: Reviews and Notices of The Old Manor House

  1. The Analytical Review (1793)
  2. The Critical Review (1793)
  3. The Monthly Review (1793)
  4. Walter Scott, “Charlotte Smith,” Miscellaneous Prose Works (1834)

Appendix B: The Genre Debate

  1. Anna Letitia Barbauld, “An Enquiry into Those Kinds of Distress which Excite Agreeable Sensations,” Miscellaneous
    Pieces in Prose
  2. John Moore, “A View of the Commencement and Progress of Romance” (1797)
  3. Walter Scott, “Romance,” Miscellaneous Prose Works (1834)

Appendix C: Blackstone’s Views on the Laws of Property

  1. “The Rights of Things,” Commentaries on the Laws of England (1766)

Appendix D: War and Its Effect

  1. Poetic Responses
    1. From Charlotte Smith, The Emigrants (1793)
    2. William Wordsworth, “The Discharged Soldier” (1798)
  2. The American Revolution
    1. The Repeal Act (1766)
    2. The Declaratory Act (1766)
    3. The American Prohibitory Act (1775)
    4. Speech by General John Burgoyne (1777)
    5. Letter from John Adams (1775)
    6. A Speech to the Six Confederate Nations (1775)
  3. The French Revolution
    1. The Analytical Review (1789)
    2. James Mackintosh, Vindiciae Gallicae: Defence of the French Revolution, and its English Admirers, against the accusations of The Right Hon. E. Burke (1791)
    3. Royal Proclamation Against Seditious Writings (1792)

Select Bibliography

Jacqueline M. Labbe is a Reader in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. She is the author of The Romantic Paradox: Love, Violence, and the Uses of Romance, 1760-1830 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2000).