Other literary forms

(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

Felicia Dorothea Hemans (HEHM-uhnz) translated works from Luis de Camões, Petrarch, Francisco Gómez de Quevedo y Villegas, and others in Translations from Camoens, and Other Poets, with Original Poetry (1818). Her verse drama, The Vespers of Palermo, failed in London, but fared better in Edinburgh, where it was supported by Sir Walter Scott and Joanna Baillie, and starred Sarah Siddons.


(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

Noted as one of the best-selling and most widely read British poets of the nineteenth century, along with Sir Walter Scott and Lord Byron, Felicia Dorothea Hemans was celebrated as the perfection of English womanhood—upholder and defender of hearth, home, and nation—and as founder of a school of sentimental poetry. Current criticism is reevaluating her place in English letters, assessing thematic cross-currents in her work that undermine the more obvious themes, those beloved by the Victorians yet denounced by the modernists. Critics are also recontextualizing her work and reexamining the persona of Mrs. Hemans, as well as the actual woman and poet.


(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

Harding, Anthony John. “Felicia Hemans and the Effacement of Woman.” In Romantic Women: Voices and Countervoices, edited by Paula R. Feldman and Theresa M. Kelley. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1995. Discusses Hemans’s work in the context of writing with or against expected gender roles and social convention.

Mason, Emma James. Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century. Tavistock, England: Northcote House, 2004. Contains a section on Hemans and her work.

Sweet, Nanora, and Julie Melnyk, eds. Felicia Hemans: Reimagining Poetry in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Palgrave, 2001. Collection of articles on Hemans and changing critical assessments of the poet.

Wolfson, Susan J. “Domestic Affections and the Spear of Minerva: Felicia Hemans and the Dilemma of Gender.” In Re-visioning Romanticism: British Women Writers, 1776-1837, edited by Carol Shiner Wilson and Joel Haefner. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994. Wolfson examines work by and about Hemans, maintaining that the lack of resolution of gender role conflicts supplies creative tension.

_______, ed. Felicia Hemans: Selected Poems, Letters, Reception Materials. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2010. Collects poetry and other materials not otherwise readily available.