Mary Robinson: The Natural Daughter

(1124 words)
  • Carrie-Ann Runstedler (University of Saskatchewan)

The Natural Daughter, with Portraits of the Leadenhead Family, published in 1799 by Longman and Rees, is Mary Robinson’s seventh and final novel. Set against the backdrop of the Reign of Terror in France, the novel explores many revolutionary themes such as the equality of women in marriage, women’s employment, and the rights of illegitimate children. Like Robinson’s other novels, The Natural Daughter engages in an extended critique of the aristocracy. The heroine is Martha (Bradford) Morley, who, thrown out of her home by a hypocritical and cruel husband for remaining steadfast to her principles, seeks to support herself in various ways and thus rehabilitate her status as a “fallen woman.”

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Runstedler, Carrie-Ann. "The Natural Daughter". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 November 2007
[, accessed 27 November 2015.]