Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Women Writers: Anna Letitia Barbauld

Anna Laetitia Barbauld

Her Biography

Anna Laetitia Aikin was born in 1743 to John and Jane Aikin. During her childhood, she earned a domestic education and learned Latin and Greek from her parents, who were of Presbyterian background. From her brother’s encouragement, Anna published some of her poems and hymns in 1771-2 in her friends’ collections of
poetry. In the following year, she published her own collection, Poems, which were drawn from life experiences and written in tribute to friends, family, and her role model, Elizabeth Rowe.
She married a minister, Rochemont Barbauld, the following year, and they opened up a boarding school. Since they had no children, they adopted her brother’s third child. During this time, many of Anna’s hymns and poetry were written towards children. In the 1790’s, however, many of her pieces focused on the slave trade, abolition, and revolutionary politics. In response to political pressure and criticism regarding her family’s views, Anna wrote “Sins of the Government, Sins of the Nation.” She also contributed to her brother’s magazine, edited some of Samuel Richardson’s work, and published a series of essays and critical reviews on English authors. She wrote a variety of moods and on a variety of topics, but primarily focused on religion and the domestic setting.   She was admired by her contemporaries, Coleridge and Wordsworth.
Her husband fell mentally ill, and he became violent and attacked Anna one night. As a result, they separated for her safety. He later drowned himself in the New River, and she wrote of her sorrow in “Dirge.” Her last work was “Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, A Poem”, criticizing the warring politics between England and France.
Anna died in 1825. Her descendants gathered her works and wrote memoirs in her memory, but many of the manuscripts were destroyed in the bombing of London in 1940.

Web Resources

Ø A Celebration of Women Writers: Anna Laetitia Barbauld http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/barbauld/biography.html
A Webpage featuring a biography, links to her selections of poems, and a bibliography of her works. (The search page where her name is listed provides scans of various editions of her published works, as well as links to other sources of information: http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/_generate/authors-B.html)

Ø English Poetry 1579-1830, Spenser and the Tradition: Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743-1825) http://spenserians.cath.vt.edu/AuthorRecord.php?&action=GET&recordid=33202&page=AuthorRecord
Virginia Tech’s page for Barbauld, displaying the same information for Mary Robinson and Charlotte Smith on their respective pages.

Ø Hymnary.org: Anna Letitia Barbauld
A unique site that focuses on the hymns Barbauld wrote. There is a brief biography (specializing in her hymn writing), a list of the hymns she wrote and when they were written, and how many hymnals they were written in. Some hymns’ links contain the scores used, midi files, and scans of the hymns themselves.

Ø The Anna Laetitia Barbauld Website
A small site containing digital editions of her works, contemporary and modern criticism, and a list of links of outside resources for further reference (many of which can also be found on sites like Voice of the Shuttle).


Anderson, John M. “‘The First Fire’: Barbauld Rewrites the Greater Romantic Lyric.”  Studies in English Literature 34.4 (1994): 719-38. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.

Bailey, Peggy Dunn. “Barbauld's ‘Hymns in Prose for Children’: Christian Romanticism and            Instruction as Worship.” Christianity & Literature 59.4 (Summer 2010): 603-17. Web.             22 Sept. 2014.

Bellanca, Ellen. “Science, Animal Sympathy, and Anna Barbauld's ‘The Mouse's Petition’.”              Eighteenth Century Studies 37.1 (Fall 2003): 47-67. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.

Choi, Julie. “Feminine Authority? Common Sense and the Question of Voice in the Novel.”          New Literary History 27.4 (Autumn 1996): 641-62. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.

Fyfe, Aileen. “Reading Children's Books in Late Eighteenth-Century Dissenting Families.”          The Historical Journal 43.2 (June 2000): 453-73. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.

Hammerschmidt, Sören. “Barbauld's Richardson and the Canonization of Personal          Character.” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 25.2 (Winter 2012-13): 431-454. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.
Lapp, Robert K. “Authorship in Eighteen Hundred and Eleven: An Integral Approach.” ESC:          English Studies in Canada 38.2 (June 2012): 49-70. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.

Major, Emma. “Nature, Nation, and Denomination: Barbauld's Taste for the Public.” Studies in Romanticism 72.4 (Winter 2007): 909-30. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.
Otter, Alice G Den. “Pests, Parasites, and Positionality: Anna Letitia Barbauld and 'The          Caterpillar'.” Studies in Romanticism 43.2 (2004): 209-30. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.

Ready, Kathryn J. “What then, poor Beastie!’: Gender, Politics, and Animal          Experimentation in Anna Barbauld's ‘The Mouse's Petition’.” Eighteenth-Century Life          28.1 (Winter 2004): 92-114. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.

Rogers, Katharine M. “Anna Barbauld's Criticism of Fiction —Johnsonian Mode, Female          Vision.” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 21 (1992): 27-41. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.

Rohrbach, Emily. “Anna Barbauld’s History of the Future: A Deviant Way to Poetic     Agency.” European Romantic Review 17.2 (Apr. 2006): 179-87. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.
Sanders, Julia. “'The Mouse's Petition': Anna Laetitia Barbauld and the Scientific Revolution.” The Review of English Studies 53.212 (Nov. 2002): 500-16. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.

Toner, Anne. “Anna Barbauld on Fictional Form in The British Novelists (1810).”          Eighteenth Century Fiction 24.2 (Fall 2012): 171-93. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.


·        Found in TWU’s Library (not including her works):
o   McCarthy, William. Anna Letitia Barbauld: Voice of the Enlightenment. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008. Print.
General Collection (PR4057.B7 Z75 2008)

o   Oliver, Grace A. and Mrs. Barbauld. Memoir, Letters, and a Selection from the Poems and Prose Writings of Anna Laetitia Barbauld. New Haven: Research Publications, 1977. Print.
Woman's Collection - Reference (No Checkout) (MFILM 10 reel 363, no. 2516)

·        Found via Amazon and Barnes & Noble:
o   Murphy, Olivia. Anna Letitia Barbauld: New Perspectives (Transits: Literature, Thought & Culture, 1650-1850). New York: Bucknell University Press, 2013. Print.

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