Charlotte Smith: Beachy Head (1648 words)


Beachy Head (1807), Charlotte Turner Smith’s last, posthumously published poem, is her longest and arguably most ambitious piece of verse. At over 700 lines, this poem marks her second attempt at blank verse in a longer form (her first, The Emigrants, appeared in 1793). Set atop the British coast during the tumultuous political atmosphere of the Napoleonic Age, Beachy Head presents a meditation on nature and the lush, indigenous pastoral vista. In doing so, it more grandly sets its sights on wide-ranging histories that surround such landscapes, including the geologic record of the coast, the early histories of England, and the consumer-driven empires that invade and make history on national shorelines. While not …

Citation: Singer, Katherine. "Beachy Head". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 June 2012 [, accessed 17 May 2021.]

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