Shakespeare’s Heroines
  • Publication Date: September 26, 2005
  • ISBN: 9781551113241 / 1551113244
  • 464 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Shakespeare’s Heroines

  • Publication Date: September 26, 2005
  • ISBN: 9781551113241 / 1551113244
  • 464 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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

Anna Murphy Jameson: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

Shakespeare’s Heroines

Appendix A: Jameson’s Writing on Women, Work, and Acting

  1. From Sisters of Charity, Catholic and Protestant, Abroad and at Home (1855)
  2. From The Communion of Labour (1856)
  3. “Mrs. Siddons” in Visits and Sketches at Home and Abroad (1834)

Appendix B: Jameson’s Correspondence

  1. Bessie Rayner Parkes, 1856-59
  2. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1856
  3. Frances Anne Kemble, 1831-32
  4. Ottilie von Goethe, 1836

Appendix C: Contemporary Reviews of Characteristics of Women

  1. The Monthly Review (1832)
  2. The Literary Gazette (1832)
  3. Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (1833)

Appendix D: Conduct Books

  1. From Sarah Stickney Ellis, The Women of England:Their Social Duties and Domestic Habits (1939)
  2. From John Ruskin, “Of Queen’s Gardens” in Sesame and Lilies (1865)

Appendix E: Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Shakespeare Criticism

  1. From William Richardson, “On Shakespeare’s Imitation of Female Characters” in Essays on Shakespeare’s Dramatic Character of Sir John Falstaff and on his Imitation of Female Characters (1789)
  2. From William Hazlitt, Characters of Shakespeare’s Plays (1817)
  3. From Frances Anne Kemble, “Notes on Macbeth No. II.” in Notes upon Some of Shakespeare’s Plays (1882)

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Cheri L. Larsen Hoeckley is an Associate Professor of English at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California.