Felicia Hemans

“…if she knit blue stockings instead of wearing them it would be better”
-Lord Byron

The ideals and foundation of feminism can be traced all the way back to creation myths when Lilith rejected Adam (Feminism and Women’s studies). The idea of female equality and independence was a common theme among the first feminist writers, including Felicia Hemans. “Students of literature should consider not only Mary Shelley, but Felicia Hemans…” (A companion to romanticism, 397).   Not considered a feminist until long after her death, Hemans strong female characters and importance of women’s power throughout her poems laid a foundation for later feminists.
      One of the first and most influential feminist writers, Hemans lack of paternal figures in her childhood and adult life, theme of female and maternal independence in her poems, and rejection of the patriarchal system made her a poet that feminists look back on for inspiration today.
As a child Felicia was nurtured more and supported more by her mother. When she was young her mother taught her an array of different languages and urged her to pursue her creativity through writing. When she was thirteen her father deserted her mother for a “fresh start in Canada” (Longman, 835). Here she observed first hand what it was like to be a single mother having to support a family. Years later, when she was married with 5 children, her husband coincidentally deserted her for Italy.
      With 5 children and a sick mother she not only had to write because she enjoyed it, she had to write to support her family. Hemans prior poems about the importance of home life were overshadowed now by the “unreliability and treachery of men” (Longman, 835).   The Wife of Asdrubal tells the story of a man who cowardly humbled himself and gave up his wife and children to keep his own life. “On him, who left her to that burning tomb, alone to share her children’s martyrdom; who when his country perished, fled the strife, and knelt to win the...