Women’s life writing and reputation: a case study of Mary Darby Robinson

Civale, S. (2017) Women’s life writing and reputation: a case study of Mary Darby Robinson. Romanticism. ISSN 1354-991X. (In Press)

[img]
Preview
PDF
16593_Romanticism.Article.CREATE.2018.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (346kB) | Preview

Abstract

The posthumously published *Memoirs of the Late Mrs. Robinson* (1801) has been read as a final—but flawed—attempt to defend the conduct and rescue the reputation of the notorious actress, poet, and one-time royal mistress, Mary Darby Robinson (1758-1800).

Narrating her life as a pathetic tale of transgression and suffering, the Memoirs seems destabilised by inconsistencies in structure and gaps in content which are often discussed by modern critics as shortcomings: evidence of self-censorship, ‘confused’ intentions, or an inability to fashion an acceptable feminine persona. However, these so-called shortcomings may comprise a nuanced strategy of self-presentation designed to evoke curiosity and sympathy. Robinson’s Memoirs was reprinted throughout the nineteenth century, spurring myriad novels, mini-biographies, and periodical articles.

By examining nineteenth-century responses to the Memoirs, this essay argues for Robinson’s life writing as innovative and influential, and gestures to the benefits of extending the traditional ‘edges’ of Romanticism in terms of both genre and period.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mary Darby Robinson, life writing, reputation, literary afterlife, Romanticism, women writers
Subjects: P Language and Literature
P Language and Literature > PR English Literature
P Language and Literature > PR English Literature > PR0001 Literary history and criticism
P Language and Literature > PR English Literature > PR0111 Women authors
P Language and Literature > PR English Literature > PR3991 19th century (1770-1900)
P Language and Literature > PR English Literature > PR0750 Prose
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Susan Civale
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2018 13:23
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2018 14:30
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/16593

Actions (login required)

Update Item (CReaTE staff only) Update Item (CReaTE staff only)

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Share

Connect with us

Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00