Professor Amelia Worsley, Amherst College, Massachusetts, USA
School of English and Digital Humanities
Wednesday, 5 February 2020, 3-4 pm
O'Rahilly Building 2.12, University College Cork
Many solitaries populate Charlotte Smith’s poems, yet the supposed singularity of these figures is complicated by Smith's use of allusion, quotation, and self-quotation to constitute them. A playful, echoic poetics emerges in her characterizations of seemingly lone speakers. Smith imagines literary loneliness in terms of the layered and shifting terrain of geology. This metaphor becomes literal when Smith buries and awakens voices in rocks, caves and riverbanks, picturing her solitaries stumbling across “shells” in the landscape. Smith’s vision of loneliness questions the assumption that singular minds are constrained by singular bodies; instead, voices are dispersed in the environment.