Notes on Anna Letitia Barbauld

January 29, 2017

“Summer Evening’s Meditation”

  • conversation poems (stolen by Coleridge): alone in local setting, mind wanders, meditation, mentally outside of the physical location, flight of fancy, return to earth
    divine contemplation: “embryo god: a spark of fire divine”, Eve and Greek goddesses (no male), stretch to god/heaven
  • female: female gods, ‘her’, appropriation of male mythology, against belief that women were incapable of meditation or higher thought (sublimity) – appropriation of male form of poetry
  • space: far beyond contemporary science, on par with modern concepts (more universes outside our own) “embryo systems in the womb of chaos”
  • connection to nature: worlds that exist without “leave our terrestrial star”, humans aren’t the only ones existing nor are they the most important (hierarchies)
  • maternity: womb, embryo, god as mother, female reproduction (taboo) rendered sublime and put into creation of universe
  • “dread” confines – sublime
  • punctuation: reflecting train of thought, no hard stops at end of lines, flow, drawing into next line, drift, form is organic to subject
  • introduction: flow of thought from old to new to future

“Washing Day”

  • “Domestic muse” – against convention, not an object on a pedestal to inspire men, an actual and active woman in a common place
  • common as extraordinary
  • women as poetic subject, not object or inspiration
  • birth of creativity in common place
  • occasional poetry, passing moments in reflection
  • questioning female roles
  • frivolous things with great value
  • in iambic but blank verse, familiar and accessible

“The Mouse’s Petition”

  • Robert Burns “To a Mouse”
  • environmental concerns, animal life value
  • equality:¬†“let nature’s commoners enjoy / the common gifts of heaven”
  • if we’re all together for ever, we should be kind on earth and in heaven; if we’re only together on earth, we should be kind to each other
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About abbaxjane

Devoted writer, reader, pen pal, post card collector, raven admirer, anglophile, tea drinker, music lover, and binge watcher.
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