Exil’d murmurings’: ‘The American Hemans’ and the Politics of Displacement
Lydia Sigourney; 19th century politics and social views; women and literature; United States
University of Massachussetts Press
When Lydia Sigourney heard herself called “the American Hemans,” she must have felt pleased and vexed in equal measure.¹ Sigourney admired Felicia Hemans, producing two biographies of the British poet and publishing a monody on her death in 1835. She was also eager to match Hemans’s success and savvy enough to appreciate the currency of association with a literary luminary. As Wendy Dasler Johnson points out, even having one of her poems mistakenly attributed to Hemans, as happened in an 1828 American edition of the British poet’s work, might have seemed to be a stroke of good fortune.² But Sigourney...