‘As to the education of youth’: the novels of Charlotte Smith and the Eighteenth-century and romantic education debates

Cane, Leanne M. (2019) ‘As to the education of youth’: the novels of Charlotte Smith and the Eighteenth-century and romantic education debates. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This work examines Charlotte Smith’s novels through the lens of her engagement with the eighteenth-century education debates. Despite the burgeoning scholarship on Smith’s works and her evident interest in education, as demonstrated in her didactic works for children, this is an area as yet unexplored in Smith scholarship. It highlights the significance of Smith’s voice in the education debates as she provides a different perspective on education, upbringing, and their outcomes: the product of childhood, or the adult. Not only this, but, as a single mother of twelve children, whom she strived to raise, educate, and find places in the world for throughout her career, Smith offers a unique perspective on late-eighteenth-century education not offered by other, more prominent, female voices such as Maria Edgeworth, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, and Priscilla Wakefield. By examining Smith’s views on education in her novels, it also offers another perspective on Smith’s interest in education as it focuses on her novels rather than the didactic fiction she produced for children.

This work has found that Smith was concerned with the outcomes of both male and female education. She explores theories for both throughout her novels and examines in detail what she perceives to be the outcomes of popular educational theories. She is critical of certain educational philosophies and demonstrates herself to be a staunch advocate of others – though often with additional caveats. Smith’s unique perspective on education and upbringing offers significant food for thought for both scholars of Smith’s works and scholars of eighteenth-century education.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1788-1799, Literature, Pedagogy
Subjects: Q300 English studies
X900 Others in Education
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2020 08:14
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 18:33
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/42765

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