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Unbounded AttachmentSentiment and Politics in the Age of the French Revolution$
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Harriet Guest

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199686810

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199686810.001.0001

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Charlotte Smith, Mary Robinson, and the War with France in 1793

Charlotte Smith, Mary Robinson, and the War with France in 1793

(p.16) 1 Charlotte Smith, Mary Robinson, and the War with France in 1793
Unbounded Attachment

Harriet Guest

Oxford University Press

The first chapter discusses Charlotte Smith and Mary Robinson, poets and novelists whose work in the 1790s can be understood to be shaped by the competing demands of literary and commercial ambition, and political conviction. Both women were liberal in their politics, and both became part of the social circle around Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin and Joseph Johnson which supported so many progressive writers in the metropolis and beyond in this period. But those who participated in the sociable exchanges of this group were by no means homogenous in their political opinions, and their views changed across time and in response to changing events and environments. The chapter focuses on the poetry that Smith and Robinson published in 1793, the year in which France was finally provoked into declaring war on Britain. It traces their reflections on and responses to the changing nature of the revolution in France, and the onset of conflict with Britain, which were complicated by their concerns for their own entangled reputations and careers as women and writers. Texts discussed include Smith’s long poem, The Emigrants (1793), Robinson’s sonnet to Smith, and her three poems, Sight, The Cavern of Woe, and Solitude (1793).

Keywords:   Charlotte Smith, Mary Robinson, Emigrants, Alien Bill, Dunkirk, sentiment, blank verse, war, revolution, reform

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