Romantic recluses and humble cottages: Charlotte Smith's Ethelinde and the literary construction of Grasmere

Bradshaw, Penelope (2019) Romantic recluses and humble cottages: Charlotte Smith's Ethelinde and the literary construction of Grasmere. Women's Writing, 26 (4). pp. 381-399.

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Charlotte Smith’s 1789 novel, Ethelinde; or, the Recluse of the Lake, contains the first fictional treatment of Grasmere but has been marginalized in critical accounts of late eighteenth-century cultural responses to the Lake District. The novel was written during the neglected period between the appearance of the picturesque travel guides and the publication of Wordsworth’s poetry of place following his arrival in Grasmere in 1799, and reconsideration of this text allows for a more nuanced understanding of the cultural shift from picturesque discourse to Romantic perspectives on the Lakes. This essay explores the contribution which the novel makes to the development of a “literary tourism” in the region and considers the ways in which it moves us beyond the shared aesthetic experience dictated by the picturesque, towards a more personal and emotional Romantic response to the landscape. The essay goes on to explore the ways in which the novel prefigures crucial aspects of the kind of life which Wordsworth modelled in Grasmere, as well as many of the ideas about the English Lake District which would subsequently come to be identified as Wordsworthian.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Women's Writing
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 1747-5848
Departments: Academic Departments > Institute of Arts (IOA) > Humanities
Additional Information: Penny Bradshaw is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Cumbria, UK.
Depositing User: Insight Administrator
SWORD Depositor: Insight Administrator
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2017 16:20
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2021 10:15


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