Charlotte Smith

Standard Name: Smith, Charlotte
Birth Name: Charlotte Turner
Married Name: Charlotte Smith
CS , poet and novelist of the later eighteenth century, continued her output especially of children's books, into the very early nineteenth century. She wrote her poems for pleasure, her remarkable, now edited letters for relief from the struggles of a difficult life, but her novels (she said) only by necessity.
Blain, Virginia, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy, editors. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. Yale University Press; Batsford, 1990.
Many of the latter have foreign settings, not for mere exoticism but to further a political critique which takes a global view. All her writing was done at high speed: she found it hard or impossible to make her income cover the unremitting expenses of her large dependent family. A critic has recently pronounced that the best of [her] writings . . . should be recognised as among the greatest works of the period.
Barrell, John. “To Stir up the People”. London Review of Books, No. 2, pp. 17 -19.
Stipple engraving by Pierre Condé of Charlotte Smith, from portrait by George Romney, 1792, in the National Portrait Gallery. The engraving appeared as frontispiece to volume 2 of "Elegiac Sonnets", 8th ed., 1797. This is a head-and-shoulders view. She is looking down, wearing a simple, light, gauzy dress, and a high bonnet with a large bow in front over her curling hair. The portrait is surrounded by a decorative swirl design, and underneath her name is written in block letters.
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Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Family and Intimate relationships Eliza Parsons
Her next child, Mary, was baptised in Plymouth on 30 April 1762, and a son, William, on 13 February 1765. In all she had eight children, five daughters and three sons. All of the sons...
Family and Intimate relationships Matilda Charlotte Houstoun
Having become engaged at sixteen, Matilda Charlotte Jesse was still very young when she married the Rev. George Lionel Fraser , who was some years older and was probably at this time vicar of Kinlet...
Friends, Associates Clara Reeve
Among her friends were Martha Bridgen (daughter of Samuel Richardson ), Thomas Percy , and Joseph Cooper Walker
Trainer, James, and Clara Reeve. “Introduction”. The Old English Baron, Oxford University Press, 1977.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
(who was also a good friend to other women writers from around the British Isles: to...
Friends, Associates Elizabeth Cobbold
EC corresponded with members of the London scientific intelligentsia: Sir James Edward Smith , first President of the Linnean Society (who encouraged Charlotte Smith to introduce botanical information into her novels, but proved singularly unhelpful...
Friends, Associates Robert Southey
Having early in his life admired writers like Mary Wollstonecraft and Charlotte Smith , he later numbered women writers such as Anna Eliza Bray among his close friends.
Friends, Associates William Cowper
Notable among Cowper's other friends were the Rev John Newton (a former slave-trader who since his conversion had become a hellfire Evangelical preacher), Lady Austen (who set him the writing task commemorated in the title...
Friends, Associates Mary Tighe
Before she left London, MT met there her fellow Irish poet Tom Moore . He subsequently visited her in Dublin and complimented her in verse. She exchanged poems with Barbarina Wilmot (later Lady Dacre) ...
Friends, Associates Eliza Fenwick
EF was well known to many of the English radicals of the 1790s: besides those already mentioned, she knew Charlotte Smith and Samuel Taylor Coleridge .
Paul, Lissa. Eliza Fenwick, Early Modern Feminist. University of Delaware Press, 2019.
A particularly close and lifelong friend was Mary Hays
Intertextuality and Influence Ann Radcliffe
The heroine, Adeline, is not merely a poet but also a genius. Her poems are interspersed in the narrative, which is the earliest example of the mature Radcliffe formula with the typical Radcliffe villain, Phillipe...
Intertextuality and Influence Jane Loudon
The same year, 1840, JL issued another book for children: The Young Naturalist's Journey: or the Travels of Agnes Merton with her Mama, a hybrid of entertainment and pedagogy in the style of Charlotte Smith
Intertextuality and Influence Ann Radcliffe
Influences on AR 's writings include the opera, contemporary travel writers, and Joseph Priestley 's Course of Lectures on Oratory and Criticism, 1777.
Norton, Rictor. Mistress of Udolpho: The Life of Ann Radcliffe. Leicester University Press, 1999.
AR probably helped to produce the fashion for literary quotation...
Intertextuality and Influence Mary Hays
Among the book's contents are poems and fiction (including dream visions and an Oriental tale. Titles like Cleora, or the Misery Attending Unsuitable Connections and Josepha, or pernicious Effects of early Indulgence foreground Hays's didactic...
Intertextuality and Influence Emily Frederick Clark
Quotations heading chapters come from Milton and other mostly modern poets, including Charlotte Smith and Mary Robinson . Other inset poems may be EFC 's own.
McLeod, Deborah. The Minerva Press. University of Alberta, 1997.
The story opens as Portuguese peasants encounter a fainting...
Intertextuality and Influence Judith Sargent Murray
She backs this pleasure in modernity with a remarkable grasp of former female history and of the women's literary tradition in English and its contexts. She mentions the Greek foremother Sappho , the patriotic heroism...
Intertextuality and Influence Mary Robinson
MR 's preface quotes that of Charlotte Smith to her Elegiac Sonnets.
Robinson, Mary. “Introduction”. Mary Robinson: Selected Poems, edited by Judith Pascoe, Broadview, 2000, pp. 19 -64.
She presents her own work as one of scholarship, explaining that by legitimate in her title she means the sonnet in...


Antoine-François Prévost published the first form of his novelManon Lescaut.
13 September 1759
A British party under James Wolfe climbed the Heights of Abraham at Quebec and beat the French in battle there.
The first, posthumous, printing of Thomas Gray 's sonnet on the death of Richard West caused a literary sensation; it laid the foundation for Charlotte Smith 's Elegiac Sonnets, 1784, and the revival of the sonnet form.
James Harrison (hitherto chiefly known as a music publisher) began to issue the handsomely-produced Novelists' Magazine, a weekly serial reprinting of canonical novels.
April 1789
The Gentleman's Magazine published Anna Seward 's selection of living celebrated Female Poets.
By June 1789
William Lisle Bowles published Fourteen Sonnets, Elegiac and Descriptive, Written during a Tour.
2 September 1793
Henrietta O'Neill , Irish writer and patron, died. She had opened a private theatre at her seat, Shane's Castle in County Antrim, and also supported the theatre in Belfast.
By June 1796
Samuel Taylor Coleridge compiled a booklet titled Sonnets from Various Authors: four each by himself, Southey , Charles Lamb , and Charles Lloyd , two by Charlotte Smith , and one each by seven more writers including Anna Seward .
By 22 July 1797
William Beckford published a second and more marked burlesque attack on women's writing: Azemia: A Descriptive and Sentimental Novel. Interspersed with Pieces of Poetry.
December 1802
The Critical Review extolled the quality of contemporary women's poetry: Miss Seward , Mrs Barbauld , Charlotte Smith , will take their place among the English poets for centuries to come.
The publisher George, George, and John Robinson , whose list of women writers had been distinguished, went bankrupt.
Alexander Dyce , then a twenty-seven-year-old reluctant clergyman, published his Specimens of British Poetesses, a project in rediscovering women's literary history.