First coming to prominence as an actress and scandalous celebrity, Mary Robinson created an identity for herself as a Romantic poet and novelist in the 1790s. Through a series of literary dialogues with established writers, Robinson put herself at the center of Romantic literary culture as observer, participant, and creator. Cross argues that Robinson’s dialogues shaped the nature of Romantic writing both in content and form and influenced second-generation Romantics. These dialogues further establish the idea of Romantic discourse as essentially interactive and conversational, not the work of original geniuses working in isolation, and positions Robinson as a central player in its genesis.
"This book offers an exciting thesis that deeply enriches our understanding of how deliberately Mary Robinson constructed her authorial identity and how that self-construction helped to share Romanticism."
- Harriet Kramer Linkin, New Mexico State University
"This book will be an essential read not only for those researching and teaching Mary Robinson but also for those seeking to understand the inter-subjective, intertextual, and interactive elements of early Romanticism."
- Susan Civale, Canterbury Christ Church University, Tulas Studies in Women's Literature
Introduction: Robinson’s Dialogues: From Della Cruscan to Romantic Part 1: Romantic Robinson: Poetic Dialogues 1. Harping on Lyrical Exchange: Coleridge and Robinson 2. Illegitimate Influences: Robinson, Charlotte Smith and the Romantic Sonnet 3. Romantic Authorship and the Morning Post Aesthetic: Robert Southey 4. From Lyrical Ballads to Lyrical Tales: Wordsworth, Reputation and Romantic GeniusPart 2: Radical Robinson: Dialogic Fictions 5. Dangerous Dialogues and Queer Panic: Walsingham and Caleb Williams 6. Vindicating the Writing Woman: Robinson’s Response to Wollstonecraft Part 3: Posthumous Robinson: Early Nineteenth-Century Responses 7. Resurrecting Robinson: Charlotte Dacre’s Hours of Solitude 8. "Sick of the same bruise": John Keats, Robinson and the Forlorn Body of Sensibility