110th out of 120 books — 23 voters
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The Old Manor House (Broadview Literary Texts)
In The Old Manor House (1794), Charlotte Smith combines elements of the romance, the Gothic, recent history, and culture to produce both a social document and a compelling novel. A "property romance," the love story of Orlando and Monimia revolves around the Manor House as inheritable property. In situating their romance as dependent on the whims of property owners, Smith ...more
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
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
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
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.