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Sentimental MemorialsWomen and the Novel in Literary History$
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Melissa Sodeman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804791328

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804791328.001.0001

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Charlotte Smith’s Literary Exile

Charlotte Smith’s Literary Exile

Chapter:
(p.79) Chapter 3 Charlotte Smith’s Literary Exile
Source:
Sentimental Memorials
Author(s):

Melissa Sodeman

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804791328.003.0004

This chapter traces how the literary transformations of the later eighteenth century shaped how Charlotte Smith imagined her way into authorship. Alienated from established literary coteries and doubly dispossessed by copyright and coverture, Smith casts herself as a literary exile whose poverty and dispossession forces her to repeatedly take up the difficult circumstances of her life in her books. Smith’s fiction clarifies how her mimetic representation of exile, rooted in her own experience, understands that experience as one of unoriginality properly represented through copying. Telling her story through others’ words suggests how profoundly she feels dispossessed—not even her history is hers to tell—and simultaneously indicates that she understands her novels as bound to copy out literary relations that serve the interests of male, property-owning authority.

Keywords:   Charlotte Smith, female authorship, copyright, coverture, literary property, exile, originality, British novel, sentimental novel, eighteenth century

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