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The Sceptic, Edited by Nanora Sweet and Barbara Taylor

About This Hypertext

editors | contributors | acknowledgements | text | images | design

The Editors

Nanora Sweet is a member of the English Department and Institute for Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She has published essays concerning Hemans in At the Limits of Romanticism, The Lessons of Romanticism, Approaches to Teaching British Women Poets of the Romantic Period, The Novel's Seductions: Staël's Corinne in Critical Inquiry, and the European Romantic Review and contributed entries on Hemans to new editions of the Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature and the Dictionary of National Biography. She has co-edited the essay collection Felicia Hemans: Reimagining Poetry in the Nineteenth Century for Palgrave in 2001.

Barbara Taylor completed her doctoral research project, Felicia Hemans: The Making of a Professional Poet, in 1998. Her essay on Felicia Hemans and the Royal Society of Literature, "The Search for a Space," appears in Felicia Hemans: Re-Imagining Poetry in the Nineteenth Century (2001).

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The Contributors

Andrew Elfenbein is Professor of English at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. He is the author of Byron and the Victorians (1995) and Romantic Genius: The Prehistory of a Homosexual Role (1999) and is currently working on a project about queer family structures.

Anne Hartman has recently completed doctoral research on discourses of confession in the early nineteenth century at Birkbeck College, University of London. She has co-edited a scholarly edition of Dinah Craik, and is working on a bibliography of nineteenth-century women poets for Annotated Bibliography for English Studies.

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This edition is the result of a cross Atlantic collaboration originally instigated by Adriana Craciun as part of the work of the University of Nottingham Centre for Byron Studies and we would like to thank her for her help and support. We would also like to thank Sanjiv Patel of the University of Nottingham's Learning Group for all his work and patience in designing the original site (and Ben Pekkanen and Kate Singer for transforming it for Romantic Circles). We have benefited from technical help from both sides of the Atlantic; in Nottingham from John Walsh and Rosa Talbut in the Study Support Centre and from the University of Missouri-St. Louis both Jennifer Spearman-Simms and Teri Vogler in the Faculty Resource Center. We also thank Virginia Murray for permission to include the letters of Felicia Hemans and Lord Byron. These letters are property of the Murray Archive, London.

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The Text

This edition presents and excavates the text and context of Felicia Hemans's 1820 pamphlet-poem The Sceptic. Neglected by the poet's current editors, The Sceptic places Hemans in direct contention with Byron over belief in an afterlife in a time of uncertainty for both poets. The edition includes letters, reviews, poems, and images. A set of critical essays by Anne Hartman and Andrew Elfenbein and editors Barbara Taylor and Nanora Sweet probe Hemans's work for its engagement with Byron, allusions to topics of the day (from Peterloo to scientific debate in the Quarterly Review), exploitation of a poetry of praise and blame shared with Byron, and negotiation of gender through poetic style and philosophical argument.

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The Images

The portrait of Felicia Hemans was painted by William Edward West in 1827 and is used with permission of the May Somerville family. This edition also presents a Gallery of paintings from Nottingham City Museums, engravings of Hemans and Byron as well as original photographs of Newstead Abbey and memorials to both Hemans and Bryon taken by editor Nanora Sweet.

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The Design

This hypertext edition was designed and marked up at the University of Maryland by Ben Pekkanen and Kate Singer, Site Managers at Romantic Circles. Making extensive use of tables and style sheets for layout and presentation, it will work best when viewed with Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator versions 5.0 and 4.7, respectively, and higher. The HTML markup is HTML 4.01/Transitional compliant, as set out by the World Wide Web Consortium.

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Published @ RC

January 2004