Notes on Anna Laetitia Barbauld

“A Summer’s Evening Meditation”

  • movement – time lapsing, the start of meditation and the return to reality
  • conversation poems – conversations between yourself
  • the sublime – the actual words themselves (diction, syntax), the situation of transformation from day to night, the descriptions of the sky/astronomical imagery
  • use of mythology and women
    • Contemplation and Wisdom are female figures, Saturn was originally thought to be a woman, deliberately female space (image of the male Sun intruding), astronomy was thought to be a “woman’s science”
    • use of mythology seems to push out the Christian male god, “embryo god” – maternal, loving, comforting, god as the mother figure

“Washing Day”

  • iambic verse and measure through colloquial “common” language – a Romantic notion, poetry for the people
    • significant because her work preceded the traditional Romantic poets
  • subjective (again another Romantic notion, the personal voice)
  • content
    • describes the washing day of a home – bringing the “frivolous,” the small, the normal up to a poetic level and vice versa

“A Mouse’s Petition”

  • comments of sanctity of life, survival, oppression
    • nature
  • before both the American and French revolutions
    • the ideas of liberty and freedom of the oppressed were being formed
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