How could including women writers in the English Romantic canon change what constitutes a Romantic work?
This is a good question. I think one of the major effects would be to link more closely literary activities with economic ones. While many of the male Romantics (except Blake and Keats) were aristocrats, and disdained popular culture, even if, like Byron, rather enjoying being lionized, many of the female Romantics were part of an “army of scribbling women”, trying to earn their livings in the only fashion possible for respectable women of the period. Writers such as L.E.L. or Anne Radcliffe are often disdained as hacks, because their literary motives often were practical. Such a shift in the canon would, I think, as it has in Victorian studies, increasingly break down divisions between popular and literary.
This is a perspective I hadn't thought of before. I was thinking that I might approach this question in terms of subject matter, taking Anna Letitia Baribauld's "Washing Day" as a clue. While Wordsworth and Coleridge were exaulting natural subjects and landscapes, often populating them with their own ideas, and Byron and Keats and Shelley focused on classical subjects such as the hero, the femme fatal, or a mythological figure, I was wondering if women poets might be using more common-place subjects ... in the same way, perhaps, that earlier Anne Bradstreet did. While I investigate both leads, do you have any thoughts about women's poetry featuring domestic subjects or symbolism?