New Edition: Hemans’s The Sceptic
Romantic Circles has just published The Sceptic: A Hemans-Byron Dialogue, edited by Nanora Sweet and Barbara Taylor, with Adriana Craciun as Consulting Editor and Andrew Elfenbein and Anne Hartman as Contributors.
This edition excavates the text and context of Felicia Hemans’s 1820 pamphlet-poem, The Sceptic. Neglected by Hemans’ pervious editors, this 550-line poem places her in direct contention with Byron over questions of doubt and belief in a time of personal and national uncertainty. Essays incorporated in the digital edition by Anne Hartman, Andrew Elfenbein, Barbara Taylor, and Nanora Sweet present Hemans’s inclinations toward philosophical and theological scepticism, her immersion in the topics and stylistic experiments of the day, and her challenges to Byronic genre, style, and theme. Featuring images, letters, and reviews, the edition includes a “guided tour” of the poem that follows its Sceptic’s “progress” through a cosmos spanning heaven and earth.