Constructing Place in Oroonoko

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Book Chapter

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This chapter demonstrates that in The Young Philosopher, as in the poetry that preceded it, Charlotte Smith uses the coastline as a powerfully symbolic space for the exploration of the relationship between female identity and patriarchal authority in its various manifestations. Charlotte Smith grew up and lived most of her life in the South Downs region of southern England; the landscapes of that area permeate her poetry and her novels, and she has been described as a regional poet. Smith draws attention to her own fragile emotional and psychological health through this intertextual reference, and alerts us to the suffering that accompanies poetic composition; in doing so she uses Warton as a connecting thread which binds her to Laura. Charlotte Smith was writing in a period which saw increasing popular interest in the British coastline and the emergence of a dual tradition of practice and representation in relation to it.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Constructing Place in Oronooko, in M. Narain & K. Gevertz (Eds.), Gender and Space in British Literature, 1660-1820, Routledge, p. 19-32