Friday, April 8, 2011

Anne Bradstreet

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Andrea Domingos


Anne Bradstreet went through many things in her life and was also one of the greatest


poets of the 17th century and one of the first poets to wirte an English verse in the American


colonies.


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Anne Bradstreet was the first American woman to speak about individual feelings in


Puritan society that believed the purpose of writting should be moral instruction.


Anne Bradstreet was the daughter of Thomas Dudley and Dorothy Yorke. She was


borned in Northamptonshire, England in 161. Thomas Dudley her father was the chief steward


of Theophilus Clinton, the Puritan Earl of Lincoln and after he was a governor of Massachusetts


Bay colony. Anne Married Simon Bradstreet at the age of 16 in 168, and lived in the household


of the countess of the Warwick. Two years later Anne, Simon and her parents sailed with other


Puritans to Massachusettes on a ship named the Arbella to America. Anne was 18 years and had


benefited from a good education in the noble households and also was a firm puritan in religion.


After short stays in Salem, Charlestown, and Newtown they settled in Ipswich where she had


eight children and a happy marriage. She wrote her poems while bearing her children,


functioning as a hotess, and performing domestic duties. The Bradstreet moved frequently in the


Massachusettes colony until they found Andover which became their permanent home. A


housewife with eight children, she was also the first important poet in the American colonies.


Anne wrote many of the poems that were published in The Tenth Muse (London 1650) which


was generally considered the first book of original poetry written in colonial America. Through


her poems she asserted the right of women to learn and express their thoughts. Even though


some of her verses were conventional, much of it was direct and showed sensitivity to beauty.


Anne Bradstreets brother-in-law took her manuscript back to England and had it printed


without her knowing it. They were published as The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America.


The first American edition of The Tenth Muse was published and expanded from as several


poems with a great variety of wit and learning, full of delight; especailly is contained a complet


discourse, and description of the four elements, constitutions, ages of man, seasons of the year.


Together with an exact epitome of the first three monarchyes, viz, the Assyrian, Persian,


Grecian. And beginning of the Romane Comon-wealth to the end of their last king with diverse


other pleasant and serious poems, by a gentlewoman in New-England, also several other poems


found amongst her papers after her death. Most of the poems in the first edition are long and


imitative works based on the standard poetic conventions of the time, but the last two


poems--Of the Vanity of All Worldly Creatures and Davids Lamentation for Saul and


Jonathan--are individual and genuine of her own feelings. Her later poems, written for her


family, show her spiritual growth as she came fully to accept the Puritans. She also wrote more


personal poems of considerable beauty, talking about her thoughts before childbirth and her


response to the death of a grandchild. These shorter poems benefit from their lack of imitation.


Her prose works include Meditations, a collection of succinct and pithy aphorisms. She also


wrote To my dear and loving Husband which is a more personal poem, expressing her feelings


about the joys and difficulties of everyday Puritan life. Another edition of her work was edited


by John Harvard Ellis in 1867. In 156 the poet John Berryman paid tribute to her in Homage to


Mistress Bradstreet, a long poem that talks about and has to do with many phrases from her


writings.


Six years after Anne Bradstreets death, poems appeared among her papers. It is unclear


whether the corrections in the 1678 edition truly belonged to Anne. For that reason, the texts of


all poems in this edition, where possible, come from the first edition. Josephine K. Piercy wrote


and introduction to as facsmile reproduction of this book The Tenth Muse (1650), and, from


the Manuscripts, Meditations Divine and Morall Together with Letters and Occasional Pieces


(Gainesville, Florida Scholars Facsmiles and Reprints, 165; PS 711 A1 165 ROBA). Until


today it is said that after her death some poems found among her papers werent hers, for the


reason that her brother-in-law took her work and proclaimed to be his own. Many of her poems


were re-written by other poets but still put in her name for it.





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