Edith Oenone Somerville: The Real Charlotte

(1095 words)
  • Julie Anne Stevens (Dublin City University)

The most acclaimed novel of Irish women writers Somerville and Ross and, for some critics, the best Irish novel of the nineteenth century, The Real Charlotte had a less auspicious critical beginning. Some English popular magazines were disturbed by the novel’s use of the grotesque. They disliked the powerful and conniving heroine of the text, Charlotte Mullen. They could not understand why her pretty, younger cousin, Francie Fitzpatrick, did not marry the hero in the end of it all but, instead, was killed off with startling and horrifying abruptness. The novel subverts romantic conventions and details the bleak conditions of the Irish landscape with grim humour. Despite some negative criticism, the novel soon became …

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Stevens, Julie Anne. "The Real Charlotte". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 31 May 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=21657, accessed 29 September 2016.]