Conjectures on Beachy Head: Charlotte Smith’s Geological Poetics and the Ground of the Present

@article{Goodman2014ConjecturesOB,
  title={Conjectures on Beachy Head: Charlotte Smith’s Geological Poetics and the Ground of the Present},
  author={Kevis Goodman},
  journal={ELH},
  year={2014},
  volume={81},
  pages={1006 - 983}
}
How does one understand present experience as part of a larger historical totality? As she represents the contested ground of the Channel coast during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, that question underlies Charlotte Smith’s complex engagement with contemporary geology, then an emerging science for discerning the system of the globe’s operations – their absent but “actual causes,” as James Hutton put it, in their “perceived effects.” In the ground’s mixture of natural and human history… 

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This essay traces the history of the expression “natural enemy,” and finds the most rigorous, though subtle, investigation of the term in Charlotte Smith's final poem of 1807, Beachy Head. Joining

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