A Lady Novelist and the Late Eighteenth-Century Book Trade: Charlotte Smith's Letters to Publisher Thomas Cadell, Sr., 1786-94 Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Brewer, Emily Marie
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • As a struggling single mother separated from her dissolute husband, the poet Charlotte Smith (1749-1806) began writing novels as a way to make money for her family. The exploding book market of late eighteenth-century Britain teemed with booksellers and publishers—some anxious to hustle works to press, some seeking quality works to build their reputation—and Smith entered this male-centric realm with naïveté, shaky confidence, and growing desperation. Guided by a literary mentor to the reputable London publishing firm of Thomas Cadell, Sr., Smith entered a business relationship that would see her through the publication and later editions of two translated novels, three original novels, the two-volume poem The Emigrants, and a subscription and an expanded edition of her celebrated poetry and essay collection, Elegiac Sonnets. Most of the letters Smith wrote to Cadell have never been published; the majority of them were discovered just as Judith Phillips Stanton was taking her Collected Letters of Charlotte Smith (2003) to press. This scholarly edition includes every known letter that Smith wrote to Cadell before his retirement, when his son and assistant redubbed it Cadell & Davies. Compiled from university, public, and private libraries in Britain, the U.S., and New Zealand, these annotated letters offer an intimate portrait of Smith as entrepreneurial author, desperate businesswoman, and careworn single mother of nine children in an era of revolutionary (and counter-revolutionary) fervor, Empire building, and abolitionism.
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  • In Copyright
  • Moskal, Jeanne
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2013

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