This parallel text edition of Felicia Hemans’s important dramatic poem presents the 1823 publication alongside a transcription of the original manuscript, offering a unique glimpse at her compositional process. Situated in medieval Spain, in the heat of Moorish-Christian conflicts, this complex political tragedy is both a rich historical narrative and a commentary by the poet on her own post-Napoleonic world.
The Broadview edition also includes selections of related poetry, excerpts from source texts, and contemporary reviews.
“Wherever we encounter significant differences between a manuscript and the published version of a work, we are bound to be intrigued, but when they occur with a major drama that seems purposely and powerfully to have been stalemated by its author the result cannot but be fascinating. Presenting these texts with impeccable care, the editors open up the complex debate within Hemans’s radical tragedy of love and honor to a large, modern audience, and its resonances will be heard over and over again in our continuing inquiry into the tensions within British Romanticism.” — Stuart Curran, University of Pennsylvania
“Depicting a city besieged and a family held hostage to a murderous chivalry, The Siege of Valencia is one of Hemans’s most discussed works. This parallel edition shows the Romantic woman playwright at work, her scenes growing more austere, her language more telling. Wolfson and Fay document the full range of conflict and crisis surrounding the work: the tumultuous legend of El Cid, the French invasion of Spain in 1823, Hemans’s own maternal passions, and the literary politics of her critics.” — Nanora Sweet, University of Missouri, St. Louis