Five Questions: Orianne Smith on Romantic Women Writers, Revolution, and Prophecy

By Matthew Sangster

Orianne Smith - Romantic Women Writers, Revolution, and Prophecy

Orianne Smith, the inaugural winner of the BARS First Book Prize, is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of English at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). She has published widely on topics including gender in the Romantic period, the Gothic, Romantic war poetry and the connections between religion, superstition and magic in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She edited Hubert de Sevrac (1796) for the Works of Mary Robinson (2009-10) and she is currently working on an edition of Helen Maria Williams’ Julia, a novel (1790) for Broadview. Her award-winning first monograph, Romantic Women Writers, Revolution, and Prophecy: Rebellious Daughters, 1786–1826, which we discuss below, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013.

1) How did you first come to realise that you wanted to write about the relationship between revolution and prophecy in the works of British women writers of the Romantic period?

It was a happy accident. During my second year in graduate school I was taking a course on seventeenth-century sectarian writers and wrote my final paper on the wild, wacky and truly wonderful Civil War prophetesses. Like most students I was still working on the paper …read more