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

About abbaxjane

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