- Clarke, Norma. Ambitious Heights: Writing, Friendship, Love – The Jewsbury Sisters, Felicia Hemans, and Jane Welsh Carlyle. NY: Routledge, 1990.
Clarke’s Ambitious Heights: Writing, Friendship, Love – The Jewsbury Sisters, Felicia Hemans, and Jane Welsh Carlyle, delves into the lives of four female writers, recounting the struggles that each faced in their marriages and the reflection of these struggles in their writing and through the friendships that they each formed. All four of these women did not make up one group of friends; instead each of them was connected to one of the other three in a close bond of friendship which is outside of the material reality of their lives – relations with men, houses, children, money, and health. Clarke examines the significant influence that these material realities and friendships have on the art that they these women writers produced.
- Edgar, Chad. “Felicia Hemans and the Shifting Field of Romanticism.” Felicia Hemans: Reimagining Poetry in the Nineteenth Century. NY: Palgrave, 2001. 124-134.
Edgar, in this article, focuses on Hemans’ career from 1825-28 which was her shift from writing a serious poem, The Forest Sanctuary, to the short lyric. Her earlier serious work was not accepted very widely by readers, but the emergence of the market for annuals brought Hemans to a writing style that the reading audience desired. Edgar sees these annuals as a ground for women writers to explore women’s subjectivity with their women readers. Edgar concludes with an analysis of Francis Jeffrey’s review, Records of Woman.
- Feldman, Paula R. “The Poet and the Profits: Felicia Hemans and the Literary Marketplace.” Women’s Poetry, Late Romantic to Late Victorian. NY: St. Martin’s P, 1999. 71-101.
In this article, Feldman focuses on Felicia Hemans to understand the conditions of authorship during the Romantic period. She argues that one should look at the business side of the production of poetry, taking into consideration the amount that people were willing to pay for an author’s work as a measure of that author’s popularity. For a woman, producing literary works was more of a business transaction than a favorite pastime; it was a means of survival. This proved to be true for Feldman in her exploration of Hemans, for she concludes that her success as a writer proved that a woman who wrote to the appeal of her marketplace found a well-paying job in producing poetry.
- Harris, Katherine D. "Feminizing the Textual Body: Women and their Literary Annuals in Nineteenth-Century Britain.”
Publications of the Bibliographical Society of America 99.4 (Dec. 2005):
- Hickok, Kathleen. Representations of Women: Nineteenth-Century British Women’s Poetry. Connecticut: Greenwood P, 1984.
In this book, Hickok looks to evaluate the representations of women by nineteenth-century women poets in the context of contemporary thought. She believes that there has not been a significant study of women poets during the nineteenth-century and so she draws from the works of various women writers. Hickok concludes that these women writers should be celebrated in that they were able to create “lively” poetry despite the sheltered circumstances in which they lived.
- Lootens, Tricia. “Hemans and Home: Victorianism, Feminine ‘Internal Enemies,’ and the Domestication of National Identity.” PMLA 109:2 (March 1994). 238-253.
Lootens, in this article, examines the different modes of patriotism that Felicia Hemans advocates in her writing and the desire to connect it to the home. Lootens divides her argument into three sections: the patriotism of men, patriotic heroines, and the power found in patriotic graves and concludes that in the end, Hemans fails in her writing to connect the nation to the family.
Mellor, Anne K. “Exhausting the Beautiful.” Romanticism & Gender. NY: Routledge, 1993. 107-143.
In this chapter of her book, Mellor further explores the question, “what happens when a Romantic woman writer chooses to inhabit rather than reject the hegemonic construction of the ideal woman?” She explores Burke’s concept of the beautiful that is opposed to the masculine sublime.
- Ross, Marlon. “Records of Women: Inscribing Feminine Desire in the Poetics of Affection.” The Contours of Masculine Desire: Romanticism and the Rise of Women’s Poetry. NY: Oxford, 1989. 267-316.
In “Records of Women: Inscribing Feminine Desire in the Poetics of Affection,” though Ross draws mainly from the works of Felicia Hemans, there is mention of a few other famous writers of the period. In examining Hemans’ writings, Ross notes the change in focus because of a female writers continuing conflict between domesticity and the public sphere of literature. Looking closely at the writing career of Hemans, Ross concludes that we must re-examine romanticism to include the writings of women that have not been given enough thought.
- Tucker, Herbert F. "House Arrest: the Domestication of English Poetry in the 1820s." New Literary History 25:3 (Summer 1994). 521-548.
In this article, Tucker seeks to define our literary understanding of the 1820s, a time he believes many see as a little “Dark Age.” In looking at the tropes of home within the art of this decade, Tucker argues that with the changing of architectural design of homes there was also a change in the poetic form. Some of the examples he draws from are the popularity of the annuals, works of Wordsworth, and Hemans’ contributions to the annuals and the different ways in which the notions of home are changed.
- Welter, Barbara. “The Cult of True Womanhood: 1820-1860.” American Quarterly 18:2 (Summer 1966). 151-174.
Welter, in this article, discusses the responsibility that was expected of women in the nineteenth century to live up to the ideal of True Womanhood. A woman during this time period held the home in a state of stability despite the ever-changing values of society. Welter defines four attributes that make up the True Woman – piety, purity, submissiveness and domesticity – which, if followed, promised a woman happiness and power. The popularity of woman’s magazines proved to challenge a woman’s sense of herself as a “True Woman” because many felt they did not live up to the standards as they tried to evolve into the newer woman defined in the magazines. In the end, Welter points out that women were ultimately re-placed in the sphere of the domestic, placing responsibility of society’s stability upon her shoulders.
- Wolfson, Susan J. “’Domestic Affections’ and ‘the spear of Minerva’: Felicia Hemans and the Dilemma of Gender.” Re-Visioning Romanticism. Eds. Carol Shiner Wilson and Joel Haefner. Philadelphia: U Penn P, 1994. 128-166.
Wolfson, in “’Domestic Affections’ and ‘the spear of Minerva’: Felicia Hemans and the Dilemma of Gender” discusses the binding dilemma that Hemans faced as a female writer during the Romantic period. Much of Hemans’ writing was based on writing for her audience and not so much as an overflow of her feelings and as a result reinforced the feminine ideals that she may have been trying to fight against. On the basis of the dilemmas between sentimental versus ambition, and monetary gain versus social pressures, Wolfson notes that Hemans leaves these dilemmas unresolved.
- Wolfson, Susan J. “Our Puny Boundaries: Why the Craving for Carving Up the Nineteenth Century?” PMLA 116:5 (October 2001). 1432-1441.
In “Our Puny Boundaries: Why the Craving for Carving Up the Nineteenth Century?” Wolfson seeks to find a defining moment or point to attribute the beginning of the “Romantic Period.” She sees a blurring of time periods prior to the Romantic period and after in the character and style of writing that was produced by various writers. She suggests the need to look at and embrace different kinds of stories which may lead to defining what kind of period “The Nineteenth Century” was.
Image Sources :
Homepage - photos of Felicia Hemans Edinburgh University Library (top left); Hobby-O (top right); Romantic Audience Project (bottom left); Victorian Web (bottom right)
"The Brigand Leader and His Wife":Poem & Engraving - Romantic Genders, Graduate Course at SJSU with Dr. Katherine Harris
"Evening Prayer, at a Girls' School":Poem & Engraving - Romantic Genders, Graduate Course at SJSU with Dr. Katherine Harris