Subversion of Romance in The Old Manor House

by Joseph F. Bartolomeo
Subversion of Romance in The Old Manor House
Joseph F. Bartolomeo
Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900
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SGL 33 (1993)
ISSN 0039-3657

Subversion of Romance in

The Old Manor House


In both her life and her career as a novelist, Charlotte Smith continually transgressed conventional expectations. After twenty- two years of living with a dissolute, debt-plagued husband, she took the unusual step of separating from him, and then turned to writing to support five dependent children while enduring an interminable legal battle over her father-in-law's will, which would have provided for them but was challenged by relatives and was not finally settled until after her death.' Her first three novels conformed, at least ostensibly, to the norm of "delicacy" expected of feminine fiction, but then she forthrightly embraced controversy with the publication of Desmond (1'792), which unequivocally supported the French Revolution. In the preface, she proclaimed her right as a woman and as a novelist to hold political opinions and to express them through the medium of fiction.* The circumstances under which she composed her next and most famous novel, The Old Manor House (1'793), challenged 1'790s notions about a woman's "proper" behavior: she was living and writing at William Hayley's villa as a member of a kind of artists' colony that included Hayley, William Cowper, and George Romney.

In certain respects, the novel that resulted seems similarly progressive and confrontational. Smith champions the ideals of the American Revolution and condemns the British abuses that caused and accompanied it, not merely through the animadversions of her protagonist, who serves as a British officer,

Joseph F. Bartolomeo is Associate Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His book, A New Species of Criticism: Eighteenth- Centuy Discourse on the Novel, is forthcoming from the University of Delaware Press.

but even in her own voice through footnotes as awkward but as insistent as Richardson's in the revised Clarts~a.~

One note laments the tragic consequences of the "barbarous policy" of arming Indians to fight against Americans, reminding British critics of the September Massacres in Paris that "there are savages of all countries-even of our own!"* Another recommends Ramsay's history of the Revolution to "those Englishmen who doubt whether, in defence of their freedom, any other nation but their own will fight, or conquer" (p. 450). A more generalized but no less stinging critique of the existing social order emerges through the vices represented by prominent secondary character^.^ Finally, the novel challenges reactionary attitudes toward social mobility, such as those reflected in a reviewer's criticism that Smith's hero, Orlando Somerive, is "held up as an example to all young gentlemen of family and fortune to marry any pretty servant maid they ch~ose."~

Yet for modern readers, the progress and consequences of Orlando's relationship with his lover Monimia can appear to reinforce a fundamentally conservative, patriarchal ideology when it comes to the domestic sphere of courtship and marriage. From the start, Orlando exerts overwhelming control, supervising Monimia's informal education, convincing her to meet clandestinely with him despite her misgivings, ordaining a "sisterly" relationship between her and his own favorite sister, and even exacting a promise from her to keep a journal of her experiences while he is in America, which she correctly prophesies can be nothing but "a journal of sufferings and of sorrow" (p. 342). Their sporadic courtship must remain secret-at great emotional cost to Monimia-so that Orlando will not alienate his potential benefactress, a vain, decaying relative for whom Monimia functions as a servant of sorts. At the end of the novel, after Orlando has married his pliable lover and has recovered the inheritance that deceit and legal chicanery denied him, he installs his wife in the house referred to in the title, a place where she had been psychologically and even physically imprisoned-in a turret, no less-and he restores her aunt, her jailor and tormentor, to a position of authority in the household. Monimia herself virtually disappears in the final pages, present only through the narrator's description of a "lovely wife" (p. 531) and a "charming mother"

(p. 533).

The dissonance between the novel's politics and its sexual politics is problematic for feminist critics who admire Smith and her fiction. Mary Anne Schofield has recently argued that the novel "does not explore the intricacies of authorship and creativity that Smith had begun in Desmond" but instead "imprisons her in the grip of the male tradition, and Smith tells a traditional love story that casts hero and heroine into the accepted roles."' For Katharine Rogers, Smith's decision to center the story around a male protagonist actually proves advantageous in two respects: it allows her to concentrate on the social and political events outside the domestic circle to which women were confined, and to offer a "feminized" hero who shares with most heroines the virtues of gentleness, consideration, loyalty, and self-sacrifice, which "are more moving in him because they are the effect of conscious ch~ice."~ I regard

Yet despite her valorization of Orlando-which as highly questionable-Rogers prefers Smith's vicious and "mixed" secondary characters, whom she regards as evidence of a gift for humor and satire. Neither quality, however, could inform the main plot of the novel, since women who desired commercial success were expected to confine themselves to "a hothouse atmosphere of contrived situations and artificially protracted agonies, lacking the realism of serious art."g I would agree that the literary marketplace dictated conformity to the standards of the sentimental love story or the extravagant romance, but I would also contend that Smith herself quite deliberately ridicules the constricting norms. Her parodic self-consciousness about the conventions of romance as they operate in the novel advances an implicit but potent critique of the ideology they support, one that objectifies women and celebrates female p~werlessness.'~

The first and perhaps most obvious way in which Smith foregrounds the artificiality of romance elements is through the naming of the hero and heroine. Orlando's name may have "added something to the romantic enthusiasm of his character" (p. 23), but Smith fosters greater skepticism on the part of the reader. In the opening pages of the novel, we learn that Orlando Somerive is named after his ancestor Sir Orlando de Rayland only after his family obtains the approval of Sir Orlando's granddaughters, who control the family wealth and resent the Somerives for being tainted by plebeian blood. Asking permission is tantamount to servile flattery; thus the exotic name derives from the most practical and mercenary of motives. A true son of his family, Orlando, who does not let scruples interfere with his slavish attendance upon the final surviving sister, has no scruples at all about changing his last name to Rayland in order to fulfill the conditions of inheritance. Monimia's name attracts greater attention and more explicit disparagement within the text. Her aunt and guardian Mrs. Lennard, who serves as housekeeper-companion to the last Mrs. Rayland, chose the "dramatic and

uncommon" name for the orphan as a consequence of "a considerable share of odd romantic whim in her composition" (p. 12). Mrs. Rayland, a satiric embodiment of foolish aristocratic pride, continually reproaches Lennard for her choice, wondering, "As the girl will have nothing, why put such romantic notions in her head, as may perhaps prevent her getting her bread honestly?"

(p. 13). Insensitive as it is, Mrs. Rayland's caution appears justified in light of Monimia's subsequent poverty and suffering-the first instance among many of a generally unsympathetic character telling an uncomfortable truth and puncturing romantic illusions. Ever the manipulator of names, Mrs. Rayland insists on reducing Monimia to Mary, and Orlando's father, who has never heard her called anything else, assumes that his lovestruck son has invented the loftier name, and confides that in his impressionable youth, "I too have had my Monimia! my Celinda, my Leonora" (p. 152). In each instance, Smith deflates the pretensions associated with ostensibly "heroic" names and signals their inappropriateness for characters in realistic, even banal, circumstances.

The epithets that other characters confer upon Orlando and Monimia serve similar ends. Orlando's thoroughly reprobate but mordantly acute brother Philip derisively calls him "Sir Rowland" (pp. 148, 207, and 446) or "Sir Knight" (pp. 199, 207, and 446), and refers to Monimia as the "fair maid of the Halln (p. 268). A more engaging but no less perceptive character, Orlando's friend Warwick, who teases him about his surreptitious relationship with the confined Monimia, jocularly addresses him as "most fortunate and valorous Orlando of the enchanted castle" (p. 327), calls Moniinia the "sweet nymph of the enchanted tower" (p. 325) and "the sweet imprison'd maid" (p. 326), and advises his companion, "Pr'ythee do not be so grave about your little Hero, my dear Leander" (p. 325). Warwick's lighthearted raillery, like Philip's malicious taunting, helps to expose Orlando's characteristic exaggeration of his stature and of his difficulties. .But his more sophisticated use of parody, which extends to inserting the names of Orlando and Monimia into lines by Otway and Gray, also puts the reader on alert for artificial and cliched literary conventions.

As touchstones for assessment of Orlando's character, the sources are as significant as the epithets. Both Philip and Warwick function as doubles against whose character and conduct we judge Orlando's. On the surface, neither would seem to pose a threat to Orlando's status as hero. Passed over by Mrs. Rayland in favor of his younger brother, Philip enters wholeheartedly into the vices of drinking, gambling, and keeping mistresses, eventually plunging the family into poverty and himself into debtors' prison and a miserable death. Wanvick risks disinheritance and the agony of the Somerive family by eloping with Orlando's sister Isabella, the ambivalent fiancCe of his rich, lecherous old uncle, General Tracy. Yet Philip's unrepentant cynicism and Warwick's cheerful acceptance of adversity-Orlando is amazed that "his spirits were not at all depressed by a change of situation so great as between being the heir of General Tracy, and a wandering adventurer" (p. 511)-make Orlando's stolid devotion to his family, to Monimia, and to respectability seem wooden by comparison. Appropriately enough, Monimia has her own counterparts in Isabella, whose desire for status and wealth conflicts first with her revulsion toward the general and then with her attraction to Warwick, and in Betty Richards, a servant who aggressively acquires lovers, among them Philip, and their expensive gifts. Both characters have won critical praise-Betty for her joie de vivre and her kindness toward Orlando and Monimia in keeping their attachment secret; Isabella for her mixture of innocence and affection with vanity and frivolity-at the expense of the paragon Monimia."

Enthrallment to romantic attitudes and behavior on the part of both Orlando and Monimia, who not surprisingly as children read together "the Fairy Tales and the Arabian Nights" (p. 21), substantiates the criticisms implied through the epithets and the contrasts. While most of the characters speak in a "natural" style and some even in dialect,12 Anne Henry Ehrenpreis has noted the tendency of the hero and heroine to use elaborate, mannered language.13 The beginning of Orlando's reverie as he prepares to enter the army and to part from Monimia is all too typical:

"Oh, Monimia!" sighed he, "why cannot I remain with thee in

this my native country? How happy should I be to be allowed

to cultivate one of the smallest of those farms which belong

to the Rayland estate, and, comprising in thy society and that

of my family all my felicity, have no wish but to live and die

without reading that great book which they call the World!

Alas! shall I ever understand its language? shall I ever become

an adept in the principles it teaches? and shall I be happier if

I do?"

(pp. 160-61)

Monimia responds to Orlando's informing her of his military plans with similar febrile intensity: "Ah, Orlando! . . . you speak only of the good, and forget or conceal the evil. What if you are maimed, or killed? What then becomes of Monimia, who could not die too, but must live perhaps the most desolate and miserable

creature upon earth?" (p. 175). She also initially harbors a Gothic heroine's belief in and terror at apparitions, a superstition that Orlando tries to eradicate through logic and derision, but which disappears only after Orlando discovers that the "ghostn she thought she had seen is nothing more than a smuggler operating out of the "haunted" chapel of Rayland Hall. By delaying this revelation long enough to sketch two eerie encounters between the lovers and the unidentified intruder in the chapel, Smith appears to be attempting to implicate readers in Monimia's credulity.14 The heroine's relief may therefore have been accompanied with the embarrassed laughter of readers susceptible to the force of Gothic conventions.

Although in this instance Orlando appears every inch the skeptical, rational autodidact, elsewhere he exhibits an imagination vivid and unintentionally comic enough to befit any Gothic hero. The narrator characterizes him as naturally "of a warm and sanguine temper" and partial to "fairy dreamsn (p. 23). A more extended portrait of Orlando's capacity for hope, or for delusion, emerges when he chafes under his dependence upon Mrs. Rayland and the consequent secrecy imposed on his relationship with Monimia: "Sanguine and romantic in the extreme, and feeling within himself talents which he was denied the power of exercising, his mind expatiated on visionary prospects, which he believed might easily be realized" (p. 138). Even his father speaks of his "tendency to romantic quixotismn (p. 152). It comes as no surprise that this impressionable hero, however much he debunks superstition, hears in the environs of Rayland Hall "dull and melancholy sounds, which seemed to say-'Orlando, you will revisit these scenes no more!"' (p. 236). Fired by an active imagination, Orlando deals with adversity by indulging in the poses and emotional excesses of the sorrowful man of feeling. Early in the novel, Betty Richards reports seeing him "walking backwards and forwards in his melancholy fashion, with a book in his hand" (p. 56). Before leaving England he carves his name in a tree, "flattering himself that this rude memorial might be seen by Monimia, and draw from her soft bosom one sigh more of tender recollection, in his absence" (p. 272). And as he visits his family's former home after burying his brother he is said to "have a gloomy satisfaction in the indulgence of his melancholy" (p. 516).

Orlando's literary endeavors embody even more fully his "warm and rapid imagination" (p. 237), and subtly expose it for the contrivance that it is. "Passionately fond of poetry," he not only recalls lines from sources as diverse as the "Ballad of Hardyknuten

(p. 237) and King Lenr(p. 460), but extemporaneously composes regular and polished verse while at the height of emotion. As he envisions a magnificent future for himself and Monimia as proprietors of Rayland Hall, he attempts to calm himself by reading, but we are told that "the sensations he felt were so much under the influence of fancy, that they suddenly assumed a poetical formn in a fifteen-line "Hymn to Love and Hopen (p. 309). Passing a quiet village during his search for Monimia after he returns from America, he contrasts "the peaceful slumbersn (p. 453) of the inhabitants with "the state of his own troubled mind" (pp. 453-54) in a sonnet.I5 Finally, a fit of depression during the time that he and Monimia are barely surviving in London prompts him to compose "a little ode to Povertyn (p. 506). One might suppose that Smith is simply and naively following a popular convention by having her distressed hero burst into polished verse. She does project self-conscious questioning of the convention, however, through the response of a minor character. When Orlando's friend Carr, the honest attorney who assists him in his efforts to invalidate the will that disinherited him, reads his ode and recommends that Orlando exploit his talents commercially as a writer, the suggestion underscores more effectively than any overt criticism the artifice behind Orlando's improbably spontaneous effusions-an artifice that, after all, belonged to Smith, who later published "Orlando'sn sonnets in one of her own collections of poetry (pp. 542n-43n).

The consequences of Orlando's "romantic enthusiasmn further illustrate the deficiencies of such a perspective-at times, even to the hero himself. Naivete leaves Orlando vulnerable to the machinations of unscrupulous characters like General Tracy, described by the narrator as someone who "had long read mankind" and thus "easily penetrated into the mind of a man so new to the world as Orlando" (p. 138). More significantly, Orlando's romanticized notion of the war as a glorious struggle gives way, after his exposure to disease, privation, devastation, and the American side of the story, to profound disillusionment, to a belief that "the present war, carried on against a part of their own body, and in direct contradiction of the rights universally claimed, was not only pursued at a ruinous expence, but in absolute contradiction to the wishes of the people who were taxed to support it" (p. 358). Hard experience provokes flashes of insight not just about the war, but also about the difficulties that result from subordinating practicality to emotion. After he has returned to England and found and married Monimia, the poverty stricken Orlando questions the assumptions that have guided his conduct:

He now remembered that he used to think, that, were he once blessed with Monimia, every other circumstance of life would be to him indifferent. . . . But. . . he felt that much of

his present concern arose from the impossibility he found of sheltering this adored creature from the evils of indigence; and that the romantic theory, of sacrificing every consideration to love, produced, in the practice, only the painful consciousness oi having injured its object.

(p. 517)

Yet Orlando's scattered epiphanies have little impact on a pattern of passivity and dependence, of waiting for the happy ending due the romance hero. Reluctant to choose a career, he idly attends upon Mrs. Rayland, the potential source of wealth and social position. Only when his benefactress approves does he enter the army, with a commission procured by General Tracy. This passivity can be read as essentially enforced, and therefore representative of the predicament of women, including Smith herself, but it does not disappear when Orlando is able to act freely in his own behalf. His service as a soldier in America, which should provide the most fertile ground for heroic adventures, in fact consists of a series of misadventures in which he is the victim of forces and individuals beyond his control. Arriving in New York disabled by a fever, the "luckless adventurern (p. 388) participates in only one battle-quickly and blandly described- before being captured by Indians, freed in Quebec, captured by the French while attempting to return to New York, freed in France, and returned to England by smugglers to whom he pays all the money he has, but who nonetheless rob him of all his possessions! In an aside on the fate of Orlando's sword, the narrator adds a devastating final comment on the disparity between Orlando's grandiose ambitions and hapless experiences:

his sword,. .. his high and romantic spirit might have been unwilling to surrender to those rapacious wretches; but, fortunately perhaps both for them and for himself, this his only weapon had slipt from under his arm as he was violently staggered by a sudden tossing of the boat, and, to the vexation of his guides, who meant to make it their prize, it fell overboard and was irrecoverably lost.

(P. 391)

So, too, was any pursuit of martial glory.

Mrs. Rayland's death and apparent disinheriting of Orlando alter only the object of his dependence. Although he contemplates finding a job several times, never, after he is rebuffed by the pompous businessman-uncle whose offer he had previously refused, does he secure employment of any kind. Instead he relies on Carr to investigate the possible existence of a later will that superceded the one from which he was excluded. His personal inactivity lends considerable justice to his uncle's "brutish" judgment, "First of all, there was waiting upon and coaxing that foolish, proud old woman, who after all did nothing for him. . . . I see no reason why he should be humoured in idleness now, and, under pretence of following up this law-suit, lounge away any more of his time" (p. 497). Moreover, by rejecting Carr's suggestion about writing, by proudly refusing to "get acquainted" with "the most fashionable" writers "who would help him into notice" (p. 506), and by visiting a "celebrated" (p. 50'7) authoress only as a diversion, he invites contrast with Warwick, who is willing to undergo a "humiliating attendance" (p. 511) on this woman in order to have his play performed and thereby provide support for his wife and children. It is Warwick rather than Orlando who responds in precisely the same practical way as Smith did when faced with poverty.

On more levels than Warwick, Monimia exhibits a resourcefulness and a determination that counter Orlando's lassitude. Throughout most of the novel, to be sure, Monimia merits Rogers's description of her as "young, innocent, refined, distressed, and uninteresting."16 Her adoring gazes, tears, and fainting spells ally the reader with a minor character who sees in her "a poor, deserted heroine of a novel" (p. 487). Yet at several significant points, she demonstrates far greater "presence of mind"

(p. 206) than her supposed instructor. When the two of them are nearly discovered together at Rayland Hall during the tenants' feast, it is Monimia who proposes the solution of hiding herself to an Orlando who had "turned pale," looked at her with "anguish and terror," and "cried, 'Who can it be? what shall we do?'" (p. 206). Recalling this experience and others like it, she is reluctant to renew "those dangerous, those improper meetingsn (p. 306) when Orlando returns home on leave, but he forces her to comply by questioning her devotion. When they do meet she tries to temper his giddy optimism, to "prevail upon him to talk less of his present happiness, and to be more reasonable" (p. 307). And at their final interview before Orlando leaves for America, her "good sense, and her true tenderness for himn give her "some degree of composure, and even of resolution" (p. 328);consequently Orlando becomes "ashamed of betraying less tender resolution than a timid uninformed girl" (p. 328).

Upon Orlando's return and their marriage, Monimia's rationality and strength of character manifest themselves even more prominently. Like her husband, to whom she had once declared, "I should be too happy to be allowed to beg with you round the worldn (p. 96), she too discovers the inadequacy of a romantic perspective and merely maintains the illusion of one: "London, where she had never been before, was at first unpleasant, and now disgusting to her; but she never betrayed this but by accident, and wished Orlando to believe that with him every place was to her a heaven" (pp. 504-505). But rather than pining away or hoping for a miracle, Monimia takes purposeful action, working at home on linen without informing the proud husband who had rejected her previous offers to help support them. With characteristic understatement, the narrator reveals how superficial his resistance proves to be: "Orlando saw her always busy; but he made no remarks on what occupied her; and, without shocking his tenderness or his pride, she was thus enabled to add a little to the slender stock on which depended their subsistencen (p. 494). Monimia's use of the needle results from the same material need that incites Smith's use of the pen, suggesting an identification that, however slight, can never exist between the busy author and the lazy, self-pitying hero.

Along with financial responsibility, Monimia assumes narrative responsibility, first by writing Orlando a long, reportorial letter when he is in America and then by detailing her recent experiences for him after he returns. As she chronicles numerous dangers, including attempts on her chastity and numbing poverty, dangers as serious as any faced by Orlando in his military adventures, he responds with ridiculous jealousy, interrupting her with melodramatic outbursts and impatient questions whenever she mentions another man. For instance, Monimia's description of a kind sailor taking her tear-stained hand provokes this ranting response: "'And he kissed them off,' cried Orlando, again wildly starting from his chair, 'I know he did-yes! this stranger, infinitely more dangerous than Belgrave [Monimia's earlier pursuer]"' (p. 484). Aside from indicating a lack of confidence in the fidelity of Monimia, his habitual suspicion of the worst reinforces our sense of the degree to which his imagination embraces the melodramatic. Incorrect in all of his agitated assumptions-just as he is wrong about never returning to Rayland Hall, about the severity of the blow given him by the Indians, about his mother's reaction to his marriage-Orlando provides a model of inept reading. Monimia's calm, rational responses, on the other hand, prove that the teacher, who had recommended that she keep a journal, has been outstripped by the student. For the discerning reader, the story and the letter bring not consternation but a kind of satisfaction, as both furnish essential information that could be obtained in no other way, given Smith's narrative method which confines the focus to the protagonist.

Monimia's discursive efforts are not isolated, as several other women engage in revelatory speech and writing. Virtually all of the reported action is rendered by women, including Orlando's sister Selina, who describes their father's death, their brother's treachery, and various threats directed toward Monimia, and Mrs. Roker nCe Lennard, whose repentant letter solves the mystery surrounding the will and allows Orlando to claim his inheritance. Open to criticism for awkwardness," these devices nevertheless place women firmly in control of important components of the narrative, in the same way that a woman, Mrs. Rayland, holds sway over Orlando's fortunes.18 The single letter that she writes emblematizes her authority, as it prevents Mr. Somerive from putting Orlando to work for his uncle. On a larger scale, she self- consciously manipulates the hero and comes to think of her power in maternal and authorial terms. Retaining his loyal attendance by refusing to divulge her intentions regarding her estate, Mrs. Rayland eventually considers Orlando "the child of her bounty, and the creature of her smiles" (p. 228). She even imagines that the newly-minted soldier, a "creature of her own forming" (p. 307),resembles her grandfather, and encourages him to wear a uniform in order to enhance the likeness. In much the same way as Lovelace's plotting and manipulation in Clarissa suggest an uncomfortable parallel to Richardson's own activity as novelist, the vain, deluded Mrs. Rayland's proprietary actions and attitudes connect her, however unconsciously on Smith's part, to the author, the woman who in fact has invented Orlando and exercises control over the entire text. To tell Orlando's story without irrevocably prejudicing the reader in his favor, she has created a narrator who shares the mature Monimia's sense, while mercifully lacking her sensibility.

As Orlando is about to retrieve the genuine will from a hiding place behind a picture in Rayland Hall, he cannot "help fancying, that the scene resembled one of those so often met with in old romances and fairy tales, where the hero is by some supernatural means directed to a golden key, which opens an invisible drawer, where a hand or an head is found swimming in blood, which it is his business to restore to the inchanted owner" (p. 52'7). Unlike his wife, who has grown through hardship and through his own tutelage, Orlando requires a fairy-tale ending for material and emotional survival. For the author, this remark represents the final example of the canny self-consciousness that problematizes a romantic resolution which confers power of every kind upon the male hero. Smith thus gratifies the popular tastes upon which her career and her family depended, but she also cleverly undermines an ideology that reduces women to mute, decorative prizes, just as she resisted being reduced to a long-suffering wife or a silly lady novelist.


'For more complete details about Smith's marital and legal difficulties, see the introductions to The Old Manor House by Anne Henry Ehrenpreis (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1969), pp. vii-xix, and by Judith Phillips Stanton (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1989), pp. vi-xxiii, and see Dale Spender, Mothers of the Novel (London: Pandora Press, 1986), pp. 217-20.

2Charlotte Smith, Desmond, 3 vols. (London: Robinson, 1792), l:iii, ix.

%tanton observes that by setting the novel in the past, Smith "could still protest against war and authoritarian rule" (p. xiv) without risking the censure she had received for her pro-French attitudes in Desmond.

'Charlotte Smith, The Old Manor Home, ed. Anne Henry Ehrenpreis, with a new introduction by Judith Phillips Stanton (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1989), p. 360. All further references appear parenthetically in the text.

5See Stanton, pp. xix, xxi.

6The Critical Review, 2nd ser., 8 (May 1793): 44-54, 52.

'Mary Anne Schofield, Masking and Unmasking the Female Mind: Disguising Romances in Feminine Fiction, 1713-1 799 (Newark: Univ. of Delaware Press, 1990), p. 161.

'Katharine M. Rogers, "Inhibitions on Eighteenth-Century Women Novelists: Elizabeth Inchbald and Charlotte Smith," ECS 11, 1 (Fall 1977): 63- 78, 76.

'Rogers, p. 64.

'OIn The Rise of the Woman Novelist (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986), Jane Spencer argues that romance appealed to women readers because "it offered escape from maledominated reality through a fantasy of female power" (p. 184). While this description applies to many novels developed around what Spencer calls "romance heroines," Smith's reversal of the gender of the protagonist not only leaves conventional power relations intact, but heightens them. Orlando's centrality as the "romance hero* leaves him neither the need nor the inclination to play the submissive lover, a role that Monimia often seems all too eager to assume.

"See Stanton, p. xviii, and Rogers, pp. 7677.

l2Stanton exaggerates a bit in claiming that "Smith makes some of the first attempts at dialect in the novel's history" (p. xviii). Fielding, Smollett, and Burney, to name a notable few, all precede Smith in the humorous use of dialect.

"Ehrenpreis, p, xvi.

"Smith differs from other practitioners of the "explained supernatural" like Clara Reeve, and especially Ann Radcliffe, in that she offers only one apparent "ghost," has her hero remain skeptical about its existence, and reveals the rational explanation for it early in the novel.

15This is the second of Orlando's sonnets; the first appears at the end of volume 3 (p. 386).

16Rogers, p. 75.

"See Ehrenpreis, p. xiv.

laStanton cites Mrs. Rayland's conduct as the primary example of the way in which women exercise "authority and power" and "represent the patriarchal order" (p. xix) in the novel, while men "are subverted into powerlessnessn (p. xx).

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