Mary Robinson‘s decision to publish in a notorious genre, the Gothic, drew further attention to her own sexual and moral notoriety. In Hubert de Sevrac, a Romance of the Eighteenth Century (1796) and Memoirs of the Late Mrs. Robinson (1801), she manipulates the publiccs taste for the type of Gothic fiction popularised by Ann Radcliffe and offers the sexually experienced heroine as a counter-ideal to Radcliffe‘s sexually naive characters. These works strategically revise conventional Gothic discourse in order to reassign the cultural significance of active female sexuality to fictional women, and, ultimately, to Robinson herself.
Reading the gaps in Mary Robinson’s Memoirs (1801)
‘Beyond the power of utterance’:
Reading the gaps in Mary Robinson’s
n 1 7 8 0 , the s t u n n ing actress and poet MaryDarbyRobinson (1758–1800) sparked a media frenzy known as the
‘Perdita’ affair when she began a high-profile amour with the teenaged
Prince of Wales, later King George IV. Robinson spent her adult life
transforming her public position from sex object to writing subject.
Her Memoirs of the Late Mrs. Robinson, Written by Herself (1801), edited
by her daughter Maria Elizabeth and published the year after her
as that of Millicent Garrett Fawcett. Using this material, the chapter
highlights unrecognised strands of Wollstonecraft’s legacy and argues
for Godwin’s biography as an innovative contribution to Romantic
life writing and a pivotal component in Wollstonecraft’s affective and
intellectual appeal in the nineteenth century.
The third case study looks at the actress, poet and royal mistress
MaryDarbyRobinson (1758–1800), who spent the bulk of her adult
life transforming her public position from sex object to writing
subject. Her Memoirs of the Late Mrs