One of the most exciting developments in Romantic studies in the past decade has been the rediscovery and repositioning of women poets as vital and influential members of the Romantic literary community. This is the first volume to focus on women poets of this era and to consider how their historical reception challenges current conceptions of Romanticism. With a broad, revisionist view, the essays examine the poetry these women produced, what the poets thought about themselves and their place in the contemporary literary scene, and what the recovery of their works says about current and past theoretical frameworks.
The contributors focus their attention on such poets as Felicia Hemans, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Charlotte Smith, Anna Barbauld, Mary Lamb, and Fanny Kemble and argue for a significant rethinking of Romanticism as an intellectual and cultural phenomenon. Grounding their consideration of the poets in cultural, social, intellectual, and aesthetic concerns, the authors contest the received wisdom about Romantic poetry, its authors, its themes, and its audiences. Some of the essays examine the ways in which many of the poets sought to establish stable positions and identities for themselves, while others address the changing nature over time of the reputations of these women poets.
"This volume takes an important step toward redefining the literary mainstream of the Romantic period." -- Choice
"Discloses a much more populous Romantic period that we have yet been accustomed to study and teach.... This impressively coherent collection of essays presents a united front in arguing for a long-needed expansion of the Romantic canon, recognizing women's valuable contributions to its most popular poetic genres." -- Eighteenth-Century Women
"Those teaching women poets of the Romantic period must address a number of questions: What was the initial reception of these poets? Why did they fade from public consciousness? What circumstances have led to renewed interest in these writers today? This volume will help us address these issues subtly and creatively." -- Elizabeth Kraft, University of Georgia
"Offers a range of positions and methods that challenge many of the major currents in scholarship on romantic women writers. These challenges are fresh, exciting, and absolutely necessary if the study of women writers in the romantic period is to have a vital intellectual future." -- Mary Favret, Indiana University
"Absolutely must be read." -- Romanticism on the Net
"An excellent collection." -- Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900
"This valuable and wide-ranging collection will provide the reader with ample material for further investigation." -- Times Literary Supplement