107th out of 117 books — 25 voters
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The Old Manor House
"Jacqueline Labbe's new edition creates a valuable array of supplementary documents for reading the subtle politics of this novel and its negotiations with the terms of fictional romance." -- Theresa M. Kelley, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Paperback, 587 pages
Published September 19th 2002 by Broadview Press
(first published January 1st 1969)
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After loving Charlotte Smith's 'Desmond', at first I was a little disappointed with this novel as it seems rather slow and repetitive by comparison, and the heroine, Monimia, is a bit insipid. However, about halfway through it becomes a lot more interesting, when the hero, Orlando, stops lingering around the old manor house of the title and goes off to fight in the American Wars of Independence. Smith is said to have been an influence on Dickens, and you can see it in the later chapters of the b ...more
Thank God. In itself, this book was not bad, but either because it was obligatory reading, or because it was for a course I don't feel particularly happy about, or because I just was in a bad mood to read it at this instance, I did not much enjoy it. Don't get me wrong: the story is interesting, well-written, and the plot is well-done (with the inevitable happy ending and marriage). But the writing style didn't suit me: romantic, too serious, no humor whatsoever, and characters who tend to get " ...more
An odd but interesting and very readable mixture of fable, social critique and novel of manners. The preface to this book tells us the author stretched it out because she needed the money, and it shows, because it does not really get going until well into the second half. This may explain why the first two volumes look more like a novel of manners than the social critique the book was billed as. On the plus side, the language is engaging and most of the characters are, too, although the two lead ...more
Smith's best novel, this novel has an astonishing breadth. A "condition of England" novel that is a forerunner of Mansfield Park, a comment on the French Revolution through Smith's depiction of the American Revolution, and a study of injustice, this is a very interesting novel that manages to integrate plot and social/political critique in a sophisticated and believable manner. Smith took her time writing this one, and it shows. Well worth a read, as it is one of the most complex novels of the 1 ...more
This is arguably Charlotte Smith's most famous book. It relates the story of romantic hero, Orlando, who stands to inherit The Old Manor House of the title, Rayland Hall. However, he can only do this if he keeps in the good books of "old Tabby" Mrs Rayland, the elderly current owner. During his visits there, he has made a childhood friend of Mrs Lennard's (Mrs Rayland's cantankerous companion) ward. Mrs. Lennard may be cruel and exacting, but she too has a romantic streak and she has named her w ...more
Interesting, definitely. Probably more palatable for people really interested in Victorian or non-Gothic Romantic era. I don't love the writing style. Still, worth a read for what it adds to historical knowledge of the literature at the time. The author's history is also very impressive.
Charlotte Turner Smith (4 May 1749 – 28 October 1806) was an English Romantic poet and novelist. She initiated a revival of the English sonnet, helped establish the conventions of Gothic fiction, and wrote political novels of sensibility.More about Charlotte Turner Smith...