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Immensely popular with contemporary readers, Smith’s major poetic works are foundational texts of the Romantic period. Smith’s innovations in poetic form have also placed her at the forefront of twenty-first-century scholarship on the period. This edition presents her three major poetic works—Elegiac Sonnets (1784–1800), The Emigrants (1793), and Beachy Head (1807). While the significance of these three volumes of poetry was recognized in their own time, this edition suggests that they remain major texts for thinking through such questions as the relationship between public and private; the ethical treatment of refugees and other persecuted people; the position of women in a patriarchal society; and the usefulness of science as a way of making sense of a complex and ever-changing world.
This Broadview edition includes a new critical introduction that takes into account the developments in scholarship on Smith’s work and women’s writing over the past three decades, and it provides readers with a wealth of contextual material for understanding the writer and the social and literary environment within which she wrote, including key works by her precursors and contemporaries, selections from her letters, and reviews of her poetry.