Forty-nine of us, forty-eight men and one woman, lay on the green waiting for the spike to open. We were too tired to talk much.
Email this page Anne Bradstreet was the first woman to be recognized as an accomplished New World Poet. Although Anne Dudley Bradstreet did not attend school, she received an excellent education from her father, who was widely read— Cotton Mather described Thomas Dudley as a "devourer of books"—and from her extensive reading in the well-stocked library of the estate of the Earl of Lincoln, where she lived while her father was steward from to In general, she benefited from the Elizabethan tradition that valued female education.
She remained married to him until her death on 16 September Bradstreet immigrated to the new world with her husband and parents in ; in the first of her children, Samuel, was born, and her seven other children were born between and After a difficult three-month crossing, their ship, the Arbella, docked at Salem, Massachusetts, on 22 July Distressed by the sickness, scarcity of food, and primitive living conditions of the New England outpost, Bradstreet admitted that her "heart rose" in protest against the "new world and new manners.
Once in New England the passengers of the Arbella fleet were dismayed by the sickness and suffering of those colonists who had preceded them. Thomas Dudley observed in a letter to the Countess of Lincoln, who had remained in England: The Bradstreets and Dudleys shared a house in Salem for many months and lived in spartan style; Thomas Dudley complained that there was not even a table on which to eat or work.
In the winter the two families were confined to the one room in which there was a fireplace. The situation was tense as well as uncomfortable, and Anne Bradstreet and her family moved several times in an effort to improve their worldly estates.
From Salem they moved to Charlestown, then to Newtown later called Cambridgethen to Ipswich, and finally to Andover in Although Bradstreet had eight children between the years andwhich meant that her domestic responsibilities were extremely demanding, she wrote poetry which expressed her commitment to the craft of writing.
In addition, her work reflects the religious and emotional conflicts she experienced as a woman writer and as a Puritan. Throughout her life Bradstreet was concerned with the issues of sin and redemption, physical and emotional frailty, death and immortality.
Much of her work indicates that she had a difficult time resolving the conflict she experienced between the pleasures of sensory and familial experience and the promises of heaven. As a Puritan she struggled to subdue her attachment to the world, but as a woman she sometimes felt more strongly connected to her husband, children, and community than to God.
Although this poem is an exercise in piety, it is not without ambivalence or tension between the flesh and the spirit—tensions which grow more intense as Bradstreet matures.
The complexity of her struggle between love of the world and desire for eternal life is expressed in " Contemplations ," a late poem which many critics consider her best: Soul of this world, this Universes Eye, No wonder, some made thee a Deity: This poem and others make it clear that Bradstreet committed herself to the religious concept of salvation because she loved life on earth.
Her hope for heaven was an expression of her desire to live forever rather than a wish to transcend worldly concerns.
For her, heaven promised the prolongation of earthly joys, rather than a renunciation of those pleasures she enjoyed in life. Bradstreet wrote many of the poems that appeared in the first edition of The Tenth Muse Many of the poems in this volume tend to be dutiful exercises intended to prove her artistic worth to him.
However, much of her work, especially her later poems, demonstrates impressive intelligence and mastery of poetic form. The first section of The Tenth Muse In these quaternions Bradstreet demonstrates a mastery of physiology, anatomy, astronomy, Greek metaphysics, and the concepts of medieval and Renaissance cosmology.
Sometimes she uses material from her own life in these historical and philosophical discourses. For example, in her description of the earliest age of man, infancy, she forcefully describes the illnesses that assailed her and her children: What gripes of wind my infancy did pain, What tortures I in breeding teeth sustain?Fifty Orwell Essays, by George Orwell, free ebook.
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