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Behrendt and Kramer Linkin illuminate the way in which Charlotte Smith discovered and embraced the lyric style of prose:
This essay is an account of how she found her audience with an unlikely vehicle: quiet, reflective sonnets featuring a solitary speaker lost in private sorrow. Rather than reaching out directly to the readers she needed so urgently, Smith turned away from them, performing the gesture that Northrop Frye describes as characteristic of the lyric poet, who "turns his back on his audience." Smith made an important discovery about the mode, which counters prevailing views of it: she found that a lyric speaker could win readers and hold their attention precisely by appearing to ignore them, by seeming absorbed in thought and oblivious to her surroundings. She became aware, in other words, of the impact that her poet could have on an audience to whom she turns her back in only the most literal sense. (102)


There is further discussion of the style that Smith used, as "Smith's sonnets are an important measure of how the Romantic canon was shaped according to one particular version of Romantic lyricism, a model based largely on the poems and critical prose of two of her successors, Coleridge and Wordsworth" (Behrendt and Kramer Linkin 103). The authors more fully explain this through Smith's thematic integration of fondness of nature, solitariness, and the accentuation of emotions, which are elemental pieces of Romantic lyricism (104).

Example Citation

​Behrendt, Stephen C., and Harriet Kramer Linkin. Romanticism and Women Poets: Opening the Doors of Reception. UP of Kentucky, 2015.

Fix this Citation

Harriet Kramer, Linkin and Behrendt Stephen C. Romanticism and Women Poets : Opening the Doors of Reception. The University Press of Kentucky, 2015. EBSCOhost, proxy-ship.klnpa.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edspmu&AN=edspmu.9780813157030&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Create the Citation

Stephen C. Behrendt and Harriet Kramer Linkin
Romanticism and Women Poets: Opening the Doors of Reception
University Press of Kentucky