Works of Anne Bradstreet

ISBN-10: 067495999X

ISBN-13: 9780674959996

Edition: 1967

Authors: Anne D. Bradstreet, Jeannie Hensley, Adrienne Rich

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Anne Bradstreet, the first true poet in the American colonies, wrote at a time and in a place where any literary creation was rare and difficult and that of a woman more unusual still. Born in England and brought up in the household of the Earl of Lincoln where her father, Thomas Dudley, was steward, Anne Bradstreet sailed to Massachusetts Bay in 1630, shortly after her marriage at sixteen to Simon Bradstreet. For the next forty years she lived in the New England wilderness, raising a family of eight, combating sickness and hardship, and writing the verse that made her, as the poet Adrienne Rich says in her Foreword to this edition, "the first non-didactic American poet, the first to give an embodiment to American nature, the first in whom personal intention appears to precede Puritan dogma as an impulse to verse." All Anne Bradstreet's extant poetry and prose is published here with modernized spelling and punctuation. This volume reproduces the second edition of Several Poems, brought out in Boston in 1678, as well as the contents of a manuscript first printed in 1857. Adrienne Rich's Foreword offers a sensitive and illuminating critique of Anne Bradstreet both as a person and as a writer, and the Introduction, scholarly notes, and appendices by Jeannine Hensley make this an authoritative edition. Adrienne Rich observes, "Intellectual intensity among women gave cause for uneasiness" at this period--a fact borne out by the lines in the Prologue to the early poems: "I am obnoxious to each carping tongue/ Who says my hand a needle better fits." The broad scope of Anne Bradstreet's own learning and reading is most evident in the literary and historical allusions of The Tenth Muse, the first edition of her poems, published in London in 1650. Her later verse and her prose meditations strike a more personal note, however, and reveal both a passionate religious sense and a depth of feeling for her husband, her children, the fears and disappointments she constantly faced, and the consoling power of nature. Imbued with a Puritan striving to turn all events to the glory of God, these writings bear the mark of a woman of strong spirit, charm, delicacy, and wit: in their intimate and meditative quality Anne Bradstreet is established as a poet of sensibility and permanent stature.
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Book details

List price: $28.50
Copyright year: 1967
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 336
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

Anne Bradstreet, daughter of one governor of the Massachusetts colony (Thomas Dudley) and wife of another (Simon Bradstreet), was the first woman to be widely recognized as an important and accomplished American poet. Educated at home in England and well tutored in the classics, Bradstreet married one of her father's assistants and traveled with Simon Bradstreet and her parents to New England in 1630. The ship, The Arbella, landed only a decade after the first Pilgrims, and Anne Bradstreet admitted to some discomfiture when she first witnessed the deprivation that the New World required. Nonetheless, Bradstreet settled in what would become Massachusetts and reared her eight children there. A Puritan more concerned with the world of God than with the world of humans, Bradstreet was still aware of the sensual power of language and the sway of familial affections. Her poetry explores this paradox through the employment of elegant, lyrical conceits. Her work also probes the position of women within the patriarchal structure of Puritan society. The Flesh and the Spirit (1678) explores such contradictory impulses, while Dialogue Between Old and New (1650) uses the Old and New Worlds as metaphors through which to decry both political upheaval and the tenuous nature of all relationships. Writing in an era when women's voices were frequently repressed or unrepresented, Bradstreet found a way to be heard; her poetry both reaffirms and reevaluates Puritan values. Bradstreet died in 1672.

Adrienne Rich was born in Baltimore, Maryland on May 16, 1929. In 1951 she graduated from Radcliffe College and was selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize by W.H. Auden. She began teaching for City College of New York in 1968, and was also a lecturer and adjunct professor at Swarthmore College and Columbia University School of the Arts. She taught in CUNY's basic writing program during the early 1970s. In the 1970s, she started to be active in the women's liberation movement. Her work has been characterized as confrontational, treating women's role in society, racism, and the Vietnam War. In addition to many collections of poetry, she has also written several books of nonfiction prose, such as Arts of the Possible: Essays and Conversations, What is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics, and Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution. Her last poetry collection was entitled Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010. She has won numerous literary awards, including the 1986 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the 1992 Poets' Prize, the 1997 Wallace Stevens Award of the Academy of American Poets, the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, and the 2006 National Book Foundation Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. She has also received the Bollingen Prize, the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award, the Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, and a MacArthur Fellowship. In 1974, she refused to receive as an individual the National Book Award for Poetry, instead accepting it on behalf of all silenced women. She also refused the National Medal of Arts in 1997, stating that "I could not accept such an award from President Clinton or this White House because the very meaning of art, as I understand it, is incompatible with the cynical politics of this administration." In 2012, she won the Lifetime Recognition Award from the Griffin Poetry Prize. She died from long-term rheumatoid arthritis on March 27, 2012.

Anne Bradstreet and Her Poetry
Wreath of Thyme
A Note on the Text
Poems Printed in the First Two Editions
Epistle to the Reader
Introductory Verses
To Her Most Honoured Father
The Four Elements
Of the Four Humours
Of the Four Ages
The Four Seasons
The Four Monarchies
The Assyrian Being the First
The Second Monarchy, Being the Persian
The Third Monarchy, Being the Grecian After Some Days Rest
The Roman Monarchy, Being the Forth An Apology
A Dialogue Between Old England and New
An Elegy Upon Sir Philip Sidney
In Honour Of Du Bartas
In Honour Of Queen Elizabeth
David's Lamentation
The Memory of Thomas Dudley Esq.
An Epitaph on Mrs. Dorothy Dudley
The Flesh and the Spirit
The Vanity of all Worldly Things
The Author to Her Book
Poems Inserted Posthumously in the 1678 Edition
Upon a Fit of Sickness
Upon Some Distemper Of Body
Before the Birth Of one of Her Children
To My Dear and Loving Husband
A Letter to Her Husband
To Her Father with Some Verses
In Reference to Her Children
In Memory of Elizabeth Bradstreet
In Memory of Anne Bradstreet
On Simon Bradstreet
In Memory of Mrs. Mercy Bradstreet
The Andover Manuscripts, First Printed 1867
To My Dear Children
My Dear Children
Occasional Meditation By Night when Others Soundly Slept For Deliverance
From a Fever
From Another Sore Fit Deliverance
From a Fit of Fainting Meditation July 8, 1656 August 28, 1656 May11, 1657 May 13, 1657 September 30, 1657
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