Felicia Hemans

 6. Felicia Dorothrea Browne Hemans (1795-1835) was a very popular English poet. A seven volume collection of her works was published in Philadelphia in 1842. There is an excellent, brief biography along with a generous selection of her poems at the Celebration of Women Writers website. Letitia Elizabeth Landon or L.E.L. (1802-1838) was another popular English poet and novelist. Glenn Dibert-Himes maintains a large site devoted to her work where one can find a contemporary biographical sketch. Sappho was a Greek poet, circa 600 B.C. Harris's choice of these three is intriguing. Sappho extolled love among women. We get the term lesbian from her home island, Lesbos. Hemans's poetry tended toward the sentimental as did Landon's although her last novel did feature a truly villainous female character. Harris may have chosen Hemans because she and her husband separated for reasons neither ever disclosed. Perhaps he assumed she was at fault. Landon poisoned herself, accidentally according to the coroner, by taking an overdose of a medication she took for spasms from which she apparently suffered. The possibility that her death may have been suicide may be what Harris had in mind.