First published in 1832, Shakespeare’s Heroines is a unique hybrid of Shakespeare criticism, women’s rights activism, and conduct literature. Jameson’s collection of readings of female characters includes praise for unexpected role models as varied as Portia, Cleopatra, and Lady Macbeth; her interpretations of these and other characters portray intellect, passion, political ambition, and eroticism as acceptable aspects of women’s behaviour. This inventive work of literary criticism addresses the problems of women’s education and participation in public life while also providing insightful, original, and entertaining readings of Shakespeare’s women.
This Broadview Edition includes a critical introduction that places Shakespeare’s Heroines in the context of Jameson’s literary career and political life. Appendices include personal correspondence and other literary and political writings by Jameson, examples of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Shakespeare criticism, and selections from Victorian conduct books.
“This edition of Anna Jameson’s Shakespeare’s Heroines fills an important gap in available resources of this significant writer in an intelligent, well-informed manner. Adept as a researcher, a literary critic, and a writer, Professor Larsen Hoeckley brings to the task at hand an admirable ability to make connections where others before have failed to see them. Broadview Press deserves commendation for putting an important literary ‘foremother’ back in the public eye with the publication of Shakespeare’s Heroines, now properly situated in its historical and critical context.” — Carol Hanbery MacKay, University of Texas at Austin