For Romantic women writers the paratext itself is essentially a masculine literary space affiliated with established writing practices; however, this paper suggests that Charlotte Turner Smith`s mode of discourse in her use of notes and their relation to the text proper are never fixed in her contemplative blank-verse long poem, Beachy Head (1807). Even though the display of learning in the paratext partly supports the woman writer`s claim to authority, this paper argues that Smith`s endnotes also indicate her way of challenging the double bind for women writers, summoning masculine authority on the margins of her book while simultaneously interrogating essentialist thinking and instructions about one`s identity in a culture and on the printed page. The poem shows how the fringes of the book can be effectively transformed from a masculine site of authority to an increasingly feminized site of interchange as Smith writes with an awareness of patriarchal, imperial abuses of power in that area of the book. There is a persistent transgression of cultural/textual boundaries occurring in Beachy Head, which explores the very scene and languages of imperial encounter. Accordingly, if Wordsworth`s theory of composition suggests a subjective and abstract poetic experience-an experience without mediation-in which its medium`s purpose seems to be to disappear from the reader`s consciousness, an examination of the alternative discourse of self-exposure in Smith`s poem reveals the essentially fluid nature of media-consciousness in the Romantic era, which remains little acknowledged in received accounts of Romantic literary culture.