By Daniel P. Watkins
During this first serious examine of Anna Letitia Barbauld’s significant paintings, Daniel P. Watkins unearths the singular objective of Barbauld’s visionary poems: to recreate the area in accordance with the values of liberty and justice. Watkins examines in shut aspect either the shape and content material of Barbauld’s Poems, initially released in 1773 and revised and reissued in 1792. besides cautious readings of the poems that situate the works of their broader political, old, and philosophical contexts, Watkins explores the relevance of the introductory epigraphs and the significance of the poems’ placement during the quantity. Centering his examine on Barbauld’s attempt to enhance a visionary poetic stance, Watkins argues that the planned association of the poems creates a coherent portrayal of Barbauld’s poetic, political, and social imaginative and prescient, a far-sighted sagacity born of her deep trust that the foundations of affection, sympathy, liberty, and pacifism are precious for a safe and significant human fact. In tracing the contours of this attempt, Watkins examines, particularly, the strain in Barbauld’s poetry among her wish to have interaction without delay with the political realities of the area and her both robust eager for a pastoral global of peace and prosperity. students of British literature and girls writers will welcome this significant research of 1 of the eighteenth century’s greatest writers.
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Extra info for Anna Letitia Barbauld and Eighteenth-Century Visionary Poetics
Ah! ” (62). And again, in “A Pastoral Song,” the speaker says of Delia, “She thoughtless meets me, with innocent smiles, / And trips with me into the grove” (81). Lob, however, possesses no such sophistication or verbal facility in matters of love, saying bluntly to the woman whom he wishes to marry: What Nelly! How dost do? Says he, Come, will you go along with me O’er yonder stile, a little way Along that close; Nell, what dost say? (87) Following as it does on the cluster of poems that demonstrate a commanding grasp of pastoral voice and characterization, this poem is doubly poignant, showing just how far removed pastoral idealism really is from the lives of the poor and laboring population in England and, therefore, just how unhelpful the genre of pastoral can be as a form of poetic engagement if it is not put in relation to discernible social and historical realities.
Tamar comes to understand that the ill that has befallen her has not destroyed the core of her spiritual identity; and, indeed, in the aftermath of her tragedy she finds within herself the resources to renew her dedication to loving God: That God which rais’d my father to the throne, And still protects him with his pow’rful arm, Shall be my all in all. To him I’ll pray Incessant, and the great Jehovah’s name Shall fire my theme, and fi ll my heav’nly song. (28) 12 Anna Letitia Barbauld and Eighteenth-Century Visionary Poetics Tamar’s comment to Absalom provides a powerful counterpoint to the littleness of mind seen in Jonadab (and in Milton’s Satan).
This range of interest and fluidity of style help to capture the nature of Hands’s visionary poetics, which rejects all notions of doctrinaire understanding, moving in a direction, instead, that disrupts unreflective experiential and literary expectations. For Hands, vision requires absolute freedom of imagination and thought, as well as the courage to stand in the midst of conflict and against the oppressive power of dominant social and ideological structures so as to challenge settled opinion and release the untapped potential of the mind and possibilities of life.
Anna Letitia Barbauld and Eighteenth-Century Visionary Poetics by Daniel P. Watkins