Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Life of America's First Poet
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Though her work is a staple of anthologies of American poetry, Anne Bradstreet has never before been the subject of an accessible, full-scale biography for a general audience. Anne Bradstreet is known for her poem, "To My Dear and Loving Husband," among others, and through John Berryman's "Homage to Mistress Bradstreet." With her first collection, The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America, she became the first published poet, male or female, of the New World. Many New England towns were founded and settled by Anne Bradstreet's family or their close associates--characters who appear in these pages.
resisting the temptation to sail away to nearby Holland, which had a thriving Puritan community, or to the faraway English colony in Barbados. But these subtleties were lost on Thomas Dudley. Cotton’s vision had, though inadvertently, laid the groundwork for the idea of a Puritan “remove.” Ironically, Cotton himself would take far longer than his parishioners to be convinced that establishing a new England across the sea was the answer to their crisis. In fact, Cotton was so concerned that his
House Publishers, 1993. ———. Home Life in Colonial Days. 1898. Reprint, Stockbridge, MA: Berkshire House Publishers, 1993. Eberwein, Jane Donahue. “‘No Rhet’ric We Expect’: Argumentation in Bradstreet’s ‘The Prologue.’” In Cowell and Stanford, Critical Essays,218-26. ———. “The ‘Unrefined Ore’ of Anne Bradstreet’s Quaternions,” in Early American Literature 9, no. 2 (1974). Edwards, Jonathan. Complete Works of Jonathan Edwards. 4 vols. Reprint of Worcester edition. New York, n.d. ———. Images
[this sickness] to humble me and try me and do me good.” God cared enough about her to single her out for spiritual improvement.4 Smallpox had chastened her, but this latest affliction had brought her even closer to union with the divine. Anne was not the sort of person to let this extraordinary experience pass. Without any fanfare, she turned to the discipline that her father had taught her back in the dim paneled halls of Sempringham—poetry. By counting out the beats for each line and
over literature of any kind must have seemed an unlikely dream to this young mother. But when life on the frontier felt unbearable, she would discover that it was poetry that enabled her to survive without falling into depression. Anne’s life during these years was made more difficult because Simon and Dudley were often called to Boston. By the spring of 1636 Mistress Hutchinson and her followers had become increasingly obstreperous. The woman’s “apostles” were now declaring that they had no
the room with its dim light, and as baby Dorothy nestled in her little cradle and Samuel lay curled on the big bolster that served as the family bed, Anne turned back to her first love, poetry. Although she never mentioned Hutchinson’s name in her work, it would have been impossible not to have the woman on her mind. Anne’s family was steeped in the political disaster that was clearly building toward a crisis. Of more personal concern to Anne, the Hutchinson dilemma had directed everyone’s